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Google owner Alphabet has flagged an interest in bidding for the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Google owner Alphabet has flagged an interest in bidding for the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League. Picture: BLOOMBERG

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

The US 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. SA’s SuperSport bought the documents too, according to a person familiar. 

Amazon.com, The Walt Disney Co, billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, Sony, Zee Entertainment Enterprises and fantasy-sports platform Dream11 have also signalled 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. 2021’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.

BCCI, the sport’s governing body in India which values the IPL at about $7bn, will be auctioning its broadcast and live streaming rights for the years 2023-2027 starting on 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. In April, Amazon announced its intention to add live sports on its platform in India, including cricket, while Reliance-controlled Viacom18 Media received $1.8bn in funding from a James Murdoch-backed firm as it gears up for the bidding battle.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
Bloomberg

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