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Six players in field for IPL media rights; Google, Amazon, Airtel missing from action

The much-awaited media rights auction for the Indian Premier League (IPL) will see six likely bidders–including the top four broadcasters—in the running, said people with knowledge of the matter. E-auctions for the media rights for the next five years—2023-2027—are to be held on June 12.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) received technical bids from rights holder DisneyStar as well as Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN),

(ZEE) and Viacom18 for the India rights, and Times Internet and FunAsia for the rest of the world (TV and digital).

Tech giants Amazon and Alphabet (parent of Google) did not submit technical bids despite picking up the tender document, effectively staying away from the auctions.

A BCCI insider confirmed that there were only four bidders for the first three packages—India TV (package A), India digital (package B) and non-exclusive, India digital (package C), while Times Internet and FunAsia decided to bid for the rest of the world package (package D). The companies couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“It was a bit surprising that Amazon and Google did not participate, but the board is confident of serious competition among the bidders on Sunday,” the person said.

A sports marketing expert, who had advised a few companies, said that the tech players did not come to the table because of the introduction of the nonexclusive package. “First of all, they kept a very high reserve price and on top of it, the digital rights are not exclusive. This has irked a few players,” he said.

It is learnt that some senior BCCI executives weren’t too keen on the non-exclusive package, which had been suggested by advisor KPMG.

While the contenders aren’t allowed to submit a composite bid for all the rights, the winner of the first package can challenge the winner of the second package for the rights, and the final winner of the second package can then challenge the winner of package C.

While the base price of the packages has been calculated on the basis of 74 matches, the board has informed the bidders that there will most likely be 410 matches in the next five years. At the reserve price, the BCCI will earn close to Rs 36,000 crore, more than double DisneyStar’s Rs 16,347.5 crore winning bid last time around.