Amazon said to withdraw from bidding on IPL cricket streaming rights – TechCrunch

Amazon will not bid on IPL’s media rights for the year 2023 to 2027, a person familiar with the matter said, leaving the highly contested streaming auction to Disney and Reliance. The e-commerce giant was one of several tech giants preparing to participate in the much-anticipated auction, scheduled to take place on Sunday.

The e-commerce group, which has invested around $6.5 billion in its Indian business and operates the Prime Video streaming service, has conveyed to BCCI, the cricket board overseeing the IPL tournament, that it will not participate in the bidding, said the person. , requesting anonymity as the details are private. Media reports this morning were staging an alleged war between Ambani, one of the richest men in Asia, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Ambani’s Reliance operates India’s largest retail chain and also the largest telecom operator.

Tens of millions of people in India watch the IPL, one of the most popular cricket tournaments, where 10 teams compete for the title over two months and over six dozen matches. The popularity of the IPL has helped Disney set several global streaming records in the past.

Disney, which currently holds the streaming rights, and Reliance, controlled by Mukesh Ambani, are expected to be side by side in the auction, which industry analysts expect could be worth between $4 billion and $7 billion.

Star India, a subsidiary of Fox, won the last five-year rights auction with a $2.5 billion bid in 2017. Google and Facebook, which made a significant bid for the five-year rights last time, also should not make big bids, people familiar with the said subject.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Winning the IPL rights would have allowed Amazon to significantly attract several new customers to its streaming app, Prime Video. The company’s service, which already broadcasts some cricket matches, is among one of the most popular video-on-demand streaming apps in the South Asian market, thanks in part to a growing number of original titles.

“The OTT market in India is highly competitive with around 40 platforms. Disney Hotstar is the OTT leader with the best sports content (+ IPL cricket). Hotstar subscriber base is ~50 Mn (~30% of Disney+ subscriber base). Amazon Prime has seen strong growth with high investments in original content. Amazon Prime Video subscriber base is ~16 million and Netflix at ~5.5 million paid subscribers. The Sony Liv/Zee merger created another strong player,” Bernstein analysts wrote earlier this year.

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