U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    4,280.15
    +72.88 (+1.73%)
     
  • Dow 30

    33,761.05
    +424.38 (+1.27%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    13,047.19
    +267.27 (+2.09%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    2,016.62
    +41.36 (+2.09%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    91.88
    -2.46 (-2.61%)
     
  • Gold

    1,818.90
    +11.70 (+0.65%)
     
  • Silver

    20.83
    +0.49 (+2.39%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0257
    -0.0068 (-0.66%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    2.8490
    -0.0390 (-1.35%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2139
    -0.0064 (-0.52%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    133.4800
    +0.4810 (+0.36%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    24,151.37
    -58.36 (-0.24%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    574.64
    +3.36 (+0.59%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,500.89
    +34.98 (+0.47%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,546.98
    +727.65 (+2.62%)
     

Ambani’s Venture Clinches $2.7 Billion Cricket Streaming Rights

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
Ambani’s Venture Clinches $2.7 Billion Cricket Streaming Rights
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s media venture won the digital streaming rights to the Indian Premier League for as much as 210 billion rupees ($2.7 billion), outbidding entertainment giants including Walt Disney Co. and Sony Group Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Viacom18 Media Pvt., a joint venture between Paramount Global and Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., clinched the online rights to the popular annual cricket tournament, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, the local governing body for the sport that kicked off the auction June 12, has yet to officially announce the winners.

In a partial win, Disney bagged the television broadcast rights to the matches for about 235 billion rupees, the people said. Initially, many analysts expected Reliance to pick up both the contracts. Representatives for Reliance and Disney didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The five-year digital contract is a crucial victory for Ambani’s conglomerate, which has ambitions to vault into the club of global media and online streaming behemoths. Described as the Super Bowl of cricket, the IPL is one of the world’s fastest-growing sporting events with a cult-like status in South Asia and among the subcontinent’s diaspora. Luring more than 600 million viewers, it’s also seen as the quickest way to pile on eyeballs and scale up any platform’s audience in India, the world’s largest consumer market with almost 1.4 billion people.

Disney shares fell 3.7% on Monday amid a broad market selloff, extending this year’s loss to 38%. Reliance shares slipped 1% as of 12:18 p.m. Mumbai on Tuesday.

Maximum Eyeballs

“There are media companies that are looking at IPL as the most important sporting event in the world,” Tarun Pathak, research director at consultancy Counterpoint Research told Bloomberg Television. “You’re getting the maximum eyeballs from a young nation. The key message here is that companies are betting on India’s future.”

Four contracts starting 2023 were up for grabs, broadly covering television and digital rights in the Indian subcontinent and overseas, as well as a pick of key matches. BCCI is auctioning IPL’s broadcast and streaming rights separately for the first time.

Despite Amazon.com Inc.’s surprise pullout at the last moment, the auction has seen heated competition. Total bids have surpassed 460 billion rupees, exceeding the 328 billion rupees floor-price set by the BCCI, Bloomberg News reported. That’s nearly three times the amount collected at the previous auction in 2017.

Before Amazon exited the race, people familiar with the developments expected the auction to lure more than 400 billion rupees in total bids, with one analyst even predicting as much as 600 billion rupees.

Cricket, a quintessential English summer sport, has legions of fans in mostly the British Commonwealth countries, and particularly in the Indian subcontinent. Trailing only the English Premier League and the National Football League in global popularity, the IPL is increasingly being seen as a critical catalyst for any media company looking to capture the Indian consumer going online for shopping and entertainment.

The IPL was valued at 458 billion rupees ($5.9 billion) in 2020 by Duff & Phelps, now known as Kroll. It could now be 25% higher, said Santosh N, managing partner at D and P India Advisory Services, aided in part by the inclusion of two new teams that increased the matches to 74 in the just-concluded season. The league now has 10 teams.

Started in 2008, the IPL is a much shorter and more entertaining format. Typically held in April and May, each match lasts between three and four hours, compared to the one-day version and the classic five-day test cricket known for its tea breaks. Stadiums hosting an IPL match feature merchandise and a carnival-like atmosphere, often with Bollywood actors cheering from VIP boxes.

Little Impact

Though Disney lost the rights it inherited from its 2019 acquisition of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s global entertainment assets, some shareholders may breathe a sigh of relief. If Disney doesn’t bag the contract, it won’t have a material impact on earnings as “the profit potential out of India is minimal,” Ben Swinburne, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, wrote in a May 12 research note.

For Reliance, a first-time bidder in IPL’s 15-year history, the cricket streaming rights are also about fueling the e-commerce and retail ambitions of its technology venture Jio Platforms Ltd.

Reliance “went in with the deepest pockets and the longest staying power to juice the IPL property,” said Utkarsh Sinha, managing director, Bexley Advisors, a boutique investment firm that focuses on technology and media. “As the consumer media wallet keeps getting divided into smaller pieces in an overcrowded market, Reliance may be approaching it with a ‘consolidate and dominate’ strategy. The IPL win is a strategic step in that direction.”

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.