The growth of the Indian Premier League since its inception in 2008 does, to a large extent, defy belief. For starters and if we were to go back 12 years, those who were sure that the competition would be a success were in the very small minority when the first ball was bowled in a match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru. Indeed, the IPL was seen as a fly-by-night competition that would eventually fizzle out after the cowboys who started it ran out of money.
Needless to say, the large majority of pundits who promoted that narrative in 2008 have now been left red-faced after the IPL became the third most-watched sports league in the world in 2022 with a viewership of over 380 million people. As initially alluded to, the trajectory of the IPL is scarcely believable and further proof of that was evident when Amazon joined Sony and Reliance in the race to win the media rights for the annual showpiece between 2023 and 2027.
How much do the media rights cost and who could realistically win them?
The IPL’s broadcasting rights are expected to cost within the region of $5.5 billion when the BCCI holds the auction on June 12th. At least, that is the figure most experts predict will be enough to secure the rights when the gavel eventually falls at the end of an auction that will have the most prestigious media companies in the world in attendance. Notably, the cash that will be needed to walk away with any IPL broadcasting deal is more than double what Star Sports paid in 2017 – $2.55 billion – to televise the competition.
Five years on from that winning bid, the latest three frontrunners expected to fight it this time out are Amazon, Sony, and Reliance who have all purchased the necessary bid-related documents to take part in the auction in early June.
Despite Sony already having a history of shaping the Indian television market, it is widely anticipated that Amazon will be the most aggressive bidder during the auction as the company is currently trying to gain a foothold in the Indian market. Put another way, capturing the IPL rights will be another significant step in successfully doing that and making the company even more of a household name in India.
With over 200 million subscribers across 19 countries, Amazon is one of the most recognizable brands today and it goes without saying that they have the financial means to make light work of the auction despite having to part with close to $6 billion in the process.
Why is there such a clamour to win the broadcasting rights?
Winning the broadcasting rights at this moment in the IPL’s history means one thing: eye-watering returns over the next five years for whichever company is successful in doing so. In short, the recent expansion of the IPL to ten teams has helped increase the quality of the product on offer and in turn, brought in millions of new viewers owing to how competitive and enthralling this league is. Essentially, this is the blueprint that the league will follow over the next decade which will guarantee increased revenue every season. Tellingly, the two new teams that were added to the league, the Gujarat Titans and the Lucknow Super Giants, top the IPL table as of the 4th of May. In fact, the latest cricket betting tips that provide free predictions for today’s matches in the IPL and further afield all back one of the two newcomers to win the 2022 edition of the IPL. The Gujarat Titans, in particular, is the team to watch having been given a price by bet365, which is one of India’s best online betting sites, of just 11/4 to be crowned the eventual champions this season.
Perhaps this is the most compelling proof of how successful the expansion has been and why the world’s biggest and richest companies like Amazon are bending over backwards to be the nominated broadcaster to bring the IPL to the world.
Realistically speaking, the IPL’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down with the competition’s popularity still skyrocketing.