Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Google Joins Amazon in Mulling a Bid for Coveted Cricket Event

Dewald Brevis of the SA Under 19s during the Cricket South Africa Provincial T20 Cup 2021/22 match between Eastern Storm and SA Under 19s on the 08 October 2021 at the Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Alphabet Inc., owner of the ubiquitous search engine Google, has flagged an interest in bidding for the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League, or IPL, joining the ranks of half a dozen media giants vying for the coveted asset in cricket-crazy India. 

The American tech company, which also has the video-streaming website YouTube, purchased the bid-related documents from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public. SuperSport, a South Africa-based group of television channels, bought the documents too, according to a person familiar.

Amazon.com Inc., The Walt Disney Co., billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd., Sony Group Corp., homegrown Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. and fantasy-sports platform Dream11 have also signaled their interest by purchasing these information dockets from BCCI, Bloomberg reported earlier.

Google’s interest in the global media rights of India’s top cricket league intensifies the fight for a sports event that has emerged as the world’s third-largest, trailing only the Premier League and the National Football League in terms of viewers. Last year’s edition of the IPL brought in 600 million viewers, according to BCCI estimates, underscoring the sheer media clout this event represents in India’s highly competitive entertainment market.

BCCI and a YouTube representative in India declined to comment.

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BCCI, the sport’s governing body in India which values the IPL at about $7 billion, will be auctioning its broadcast and live streaming rights for the years 2023-2027 starting June 12. Purchasing application documents doesn’t lead to a certain offer and the firms can decide to not bid, the people said.

Bagging IPL’s media rights — considered the Super Bowl of cricket by some — will allow companies to reach out to hundreds of millions of eyeballs and bolster their advertisement revenue.

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