The lucrative IPL broadcast rights for the next five years will be available later in December. As this is the most coveted part of the Indian TV / sports streaming pie, the competition to win will be intense. What would it take for bidders to outshine the current incumbent? Probably join hands.
Star India, which has a strong presence in both television (Star Sports) and streaming (Disney + Hotstar), currently enjoys the rights until 2022. IPL is quite essential for its user base in India. But to face the might of Star, it takes a combined force that can challenge her as a TV channel and streaming platform.
If reports are to be believed, such a partnership is in the works with Sony Network, formerly the IPL rights holder, partnering with Amazon Prime Video, already a well-established player in media streaming services.
According to a report in the The BusinessLine, Sony Pictures Networks India is in talks with Prime Videos, Amazon’s online video streaming arm, to jointly bid for the broadcast rights to the IPL for five years from 2023.
The BusinessLine The report, citing knowledgeable sources, said the two entities are likely to find nearly $ 4 billion for a joint bid for IPL broadcast rights.
Money is not the challenge
Sony, let’s remember, held the IPL rights until 2017, before Star stole its thunder by placing it, Facebook, Airtel, Jio and other players at the post with a combined offer of Rs 16,348 crore.
Star, of course, will girdle her loins with a similar big-price offer. But Sony and others don’t seem in the mood to allow a walk. Star has a near-monopoly control over the televising of ICC events in these regions. Sony, of course, has rights to cricket in Australia and England. But it’s an open secret that the real money is in ICC and IPL events. Therefore, Sony would court Amazon Prime Video, which itself has its own ambitions in sports TV shows.
It wasn’t that long ago that Amazon Prime gave up the rights to broadcast cricket from New Zealand until the end of the 2026 season. Recently, it also streamed a few WNBA games live.
Sony, for its part, is considering consolidation. It is about to merge with Zee Entertainment. But the deal ran into corporate legal issues. Sony is also working with Indian IT major TCS to revamp its SonyLiv application. Either way, the point is that Sony is desperate to regain its preeminent position in the market.
âPrime Video has long sought to enter this space and Sony wants to reclaim the rights. It looks like the two can join hands for the same thing, âa source quoted in the report said. Activity area.
But will the deal work, and will it also be good enough to stop Star in his tracks?
Well, it’s too early to answer that. Because, the agreement must first occur. And it must overcome regulatory hurdles. Assuming this is done, Star India then has a fight going on because Sony and Amazon can raise the big bucks needed. For the record, the BCCI hopes to obtain nearly 4 to 5 billion dollars in broadcasting rights.
The battle, as we have said, will be exciting and intense. If not for the fact that this is all about maneuvering behind the scenes and in the boardroom, that in itself would deserve to be broadcast live.