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Amazon, Reliance, Sony competing for IPL broadcast rights: Report Inc., The Walt Disney Co. and billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd. are among those that have signaled an intention to bid for the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League, or IPL, according to people familiar with the matter, setting the stage for an epic showdown for the prized asset in cricket-crazy India.

Besides these, Sony Group Corp., Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., and fantasy-sports platform Dream11 have also purchased the bid-related documents from Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, people said asking not to be named as the information is not public. BCCI is the sport’s local governing body that will be conducting the online auction starting June 12.

The auction will allow the winner or winners — there are four baskets of rights to bid for — to globally telecast matches of India’s top cricket league between 2023 and 2027 via live streaming and TV broadcast. Securing rights to the world’s third-largest sporting event by number of viewers — IPL is considered the Super Bowl of cricket — means access to hundreds of millions of eyeballs.

More companies may still seek to join the race, which is expected to draw bids worth $5 billion or more, to acquire the media rights for the sporting event while those that sought the applications can decide to not bid, the people said. Last year’s edition of the IPL brought in 380 million viewers, and whichever broadcaster wins the rights will likely secure millions of new subscribers in a highly competitive market.

A representative for BCCI and Walt Disney in India declined to comment. Spokespeople for Reliance, Amazon, Sony, Zee and Dream11 didn’t immediately offer any comments on participating in the auction for IPL’s broadcast rights.

The bidders will be vying to grow their advertising revenues as well as cement their clout in the broadcast sector. The upcoming auctions will be separately selling rights to broadcast matches on television and to stream them online for the first time, opening the door to Amazon and its Prime video service, and setting the stage for a ferocious fight with Ambani’s conglomerate that’s looking to expand its media and digital businesses. Business Standard

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