The Indian Premier League (IPL) continues to grow as a global spectacle due to the sheer level of talent on show and the outstanding calibre of matches in almost every round of fixtures. The reach of the IPL goes far beyond India as players from all over the world compete in the tournament, which means that the league draws interest from audiences across the Caribbean, England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
To date, the demand for television rights internationally has been a sedate affair among broadcasters. For example, the likes of Sky Sports and BT Sport have competed for the rights in England, with the IPL only ever changing hands between the two giants of British broadcasting. It has been a similar story elsewhere in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the Caribbean, with the same media titans dominating the rights. However, that could change in the future as the competition continues to grow.
In India, the IPL is massive for television companies, securing up to 380 million viewers over the course of a season. The addition of two further franchises to take the tally of teams to 10 has only strengthened the product and has raised the demand for further games beyond the 74, including the playoffs that were played in the 2022 campaign.
Therefore, it is no surprise to see that streaming giants like Disney and Amazon are about to enter the fray to bid for the rights to broadcast IPL matches in a new television deal from 2023 to 2027. It is expected that the goliath streaming platforms will fight hard for the rights to the IPL over the four-year period, which is a significant rise from the last contract that Star Sports secured between 2018 and 2022 at $2.5 billion.
The competition will be intense as both Disney and Amazon look to firm up their sports offerings for their customers. Reports suggest that the bidding could reach up to $7 billion, with Sony, Zee Entertainment, fantasy product Dream 11 and Reliance Industries also interested in securing the rights.
Amazon and Disney would allow for stronger opportunities for global coverage given their presence in the United Kingdom, along with Australia and New Zealand, on their apps. Amazon would have a headstart, having already produced a top-quality tennis product from the ATP and WTA Tours along with the Australian and US Opens. The company have also secured rights in the United States to broadcast the NFL’s Thursday Night Football.
As a result, they have a clear understanding of what viewing audiences require out of live sports broadcasts, seemingly putting them on the path to success. The IPL will have dreams of surpassing the NFL and perhaps even the Premier League and Champions League as the world’s most popular sporting competition, but that would make a drastic improvement in its overseas viewing figures.
Amazon could unlock that potential, while the global platform will also be important for advertisers and other companies whose work revolves around the IPL, such as betting sites. Since the inception of the tournament in 2008, the top IPL betting sites, such as Parimatch and NEO.bet, have been providing a wide range of markets and competitive odds. Further opportunities will come for these betting sites with global recognition of the game by entering new territories. It has been the case with the Premier League and other football leagues around the world and could be crucial to allowing the IPL to grow further as a brand.
The money still has to be right for the IPL: the BCCI have grand plans for the tournament, which could see a further expansion beyond 10 teams and more than 74 games. The money should flow right back into the franchises and the pockets of the players, but there will be a great opportunity to bolster squads, which will mean further international stars may be available.
Players of the ilk of Joe Root have been overlooked in the past, but the new riches that could be on offer could lure further international stars to the IPL. The next four years could be very exciting for the IPL and the world of cricket as a whole.