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Cricket is not just a sport, but a global competition

Cricket is not just a sport, but a global competition

Against the backdrop of a commercial conflict, a Super League is pitting streaming companies and billionaires like Bezos and Ambani to get the rights to broadcast matches.

Cricket has ignited a global business competition. In addition to established companies such as Walt Disney and Sony, the controversy involves two of the richest and most influential men on the planet, Indian Mukesh Ambani (The richest man in Asia) And the very American Jeff Bezos. But why all the interest in cricket? The reason is that the auction of broadcasting rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL), India’s major cricket tournament, started on Sunday. For the first time, the rights, valid for 2023-2027, will be allocated separately between television and broadcasting. The department attracted new investors and raised prices: the organizers received only on the opening day Total bids nearly $6 billionexceeding the initial forecast of 5 billion.

Auction participants wish to earn lucrative advertising revenue generated by one of the world’s most watched sporting events. The first match of the 2020 IPL Championship, on TV alone, has been watched by over 200 million of people. from the public. By comparison, the NFL appreciates it Super Bowl 2022 – The NFL Final, the annual sporting event that gets the most attention – Viewed in the United States by about 110 million of people, maximum in the last 5 years. However, Bezos also wants the rights because streaming the league’s 74 games on Prime Video would boost Amazon in India’s growing digital commerce and e-commerce sector. Says Al Foglio Souvik Naha, a professor at Durham University (UK) where he deals with the link between sport, history and society. Cricket is thus a valuable tool for corporate growth for Bezos, who through Prime Video already broadcasts American football in the US and football in Europe.

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Bezos’ intentions do not satisfy Ambani, which owns both live-streaming service JioTV and e-commerce platform JioMart, fears the growth of rival Amazon via the sports broadcasting company. Unknown in the West, Ambani Very rich and powerfulIt has an estimated $100 billion and has close ties to Indian politics. He owns Reliance Industries, a petrochemical company started by his father, which he has expanded into an industrial conglomerate by investing in finance and digital. One of its most notable companies is Jio, a telecommunications company which in just a few years and with significant investment has given India a powerful and widespread internet. Thanks to very advantageous prices, today it is the telephone company with the largest number of users in India: almost half a billion. Ambani is also the owner of the IPL team in Mumbai.

Despite the ulterior motives of Ambani and Bezos, which according to some recent recklessness of Bloomberg could walk out of the auction without any bid, IPL broadcasting is in any case a commercial success as evidenced by the growth in the cost of TV rights. In 2008, Sony bought it there for 10 years for $1 billion. Star, Murdoch TV, paid 2.6 billion for the next five-year contract by beating Facebook, which offered $600 million for digital rights alone: ​​They said from the IPL it was too early to split TV and internet. Out of the way, Facebook could also participate in the auction due to the association with Ambani, who two years ago sold 10% of Jio to Facebook for $5.7 billion.

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The Indian Premier League shows that the super leagues can become An effective way to earnDespite the interpretation of sports support, the history of sports teams and institutions cannot be compared between Europe and India. The league, where “franchises” face each other multiple times, was created in 2008 with big growth goals and is already worth $5-6 billion today, despite internal wrangling and problems due to bits of match-fixing. The commercial and political strength of the tournament has made the organizers, with the approval of the Indian national authorities, able to relocate all teams to the United Arab Emirates to complete the two tournaments that have been halted by the pandemic.

Sovik Naha says: “The league is – as Sovik Naha says – run by very business savvy people who have tapped into the sport’s growth potential, adapting its needs and marketing. So far, earnings from TV rights have been lagging behind, but the new sales structure will raise the profile League financials. To maximize interest in television, matches have been shortened to four hours and the season is played in a compact fashion between March and May. This year the number of teams increased from 8 to 10. The two new clubs were bought for 745 million and 945 million dollars, respectively: values ​​​​higher than many European football clubs. Premier League football fans It was inspired by the American modelbut the IPL is an equally good example to take notes from.