Disney, Sony and India’s Reliance are locked in an intense battle to win the media rights to the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), the world’s richest cricket league, which is expected to gross up to $6 billion.
The IPL, which counts India’s top industrialists and Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan among its franchise owners, is often seen as a surefire ticket to high ratings and growth in the streaming space in booming line in India.
But while digital and television rights for 2023 to 2027 are expected to more than double the 163.48 billion rupees ($2.09 billion) that Star India, now owned by Walt Disney Co, paid in 2017 for the rights until this year, some observers say caution may set in.
“There is also a global shift towards healthier valuations, where investor expectations have shifted from ‘growth at all costs’ to ‘growth with profitability,'” said Mihir Shah, vice president of consultants Media Partners. Asian.
The Board of Cricket of India (BCCI) launched the online auction for the rights from 0530 GMT on Sunday, treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal told Reuters. Results are expected later Sunday.
“IPL is the hottest property in cricket and it has just been extended to a 10-team tournament which means there will be more matches,” Dhumal said. “All of this should be reflected in the value of the new media rights, which we believe will be significantly higher than our previous deal.”
Gujarat Titans, owned by European takeover company CVC, won the 15th edition of the league, beating Rajasthan Royals in the May 29 final in front of more than 100,000 fans in Ahmedabad.
The glitzy T20 league attracts the best cricketing talent on the planet for two months of fast-paced matches played in crowded stadiums with cheerleaders and live music.
But in a sign of potential limits to the boom, Amazon.com Inc pulled out of the bidding process on Friday, saying it didn’t believe it was a viable growth option for the company in India.
Reliance Industries Ltd will bid through its broadcast joint venture, Viacom 18. Sony Corp’s Indian unit and local broadcaster Zee Entertainment are in merger talks but will bid separately.
“Viacom 18 is likely to be the most aggressive of the three major players as it fits into their long-term plans, including increasing valuation for a potential IPO of Jio in the future,” he said. Reuters a source familiar with the company’s plans.
The online auction process will be for broadcast rights, digital rights, a bespoke package including rights for high-value matches as well as broadcast rights in foreign territories.
Last time out, Star India won a consolidated bid that gave it broadcast rights on TV and digital platforms.
“At a renewal value of $5-6 billion or more, the rights would require the winner to achieve significant scale in the competitive $20 billion streaming and TV industry,” Shah said.
($1 = 78.098 Indian rupees)
First post: STI