Amazon withdraws from IPL media rights race for 2023-27 cycle

Amazon has pulled out of the race to hold the IPL media rights for the next five years. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the global e-commerce giant was not among the final list of seven bidders taking part in Sunday’s online auction to decide who can broadcast one of the most lucrative tournaments on the cricket calendar.

Amazon has been a big player in acquiring lucrative broadcast rights to global sports and was expected to bid aggressively for the IPL’s digital rights packages. In 2021, the company entered into a $1 billion-a-year contract (for 10 years) to broadcast just 15 Thursday Night Games in the National Football League in the United States. Their withdrawal will be a blow to the IPL.

It is learned that the decision not to pursue media rights was made by Amazon’s top brass in the United States and was communicated to the IPL on Friday – the deadline for bidders to submit their documents.

With Disney-Star, Sony, Viacom-Reliance, Zee, Fun Asia, Super Sport and Times Internet still in the running, the number of bidders this time is exactly half that of the previous auction, when 14 companies competed for the IPL broadcast rights from 2018 to 2022. Star India beat all comers with a record bid of $2.55 billion in the consolidated global category (TV and digital for India and rest of the world), making it the richest media rights deal in cricket.

This time, however, the IPL has separated the TV and digital rights into their own packages. Package A includes TV rights for the Indian subcontinent. Package B covers digital rights for the Indian subcontinent. Package C contains the digital rights for a special bouquet of matches, including the qualifiers, for the Indian subcontinent. And package D, TV and digital rights for the rest of the world, which is divided into two sub-categories: combined ROW or five individual regions.

The auction will begin at 11 a.m. IST on Sunday with packages A and B being auctioned off at the same time. Only after the winners have been determined for them will packages C and D be auctioned off. Also, since there is a half-hour interval between each auction, there is a good chance that the auction will extend into a second day.

Each bidder can compete for more than one category, but must indicate their price per match. For package A, the base price per match is INR 49 crore (about USD 6.3 million). For package B, it is INR 33 crore (about USD 4.2 million). For package C, it is INR 16 crore (about USD 2.05 million). For package D, it is INR 3 crore (about USD 390,000).

The IPL has however made a change to the electronic auction. The winner of Package A can enter a competition with the winner of Package B by offering 5% more than the best offer. And, originally, this contest was supposed to feature bid increases of at least 5%, but now it’s become a head-to-head contest. No minimum bid increment. The same process would be repeated to determine the winners of packages C and D.

You can learn more about how the electronic auction process works by clicking here.

ESPNcricinfo and Disney Star are part of The Walt Disney Company. ESPNcricinfo has done independent reporting on this story.

Daniel C. Williams