Amazon not to bid in high-stakes battle for India cricket rights

According to a person familiar with the company’s plans, Amazon (AMZN.O) will not compete for the rights to air Indian Premier League cricket, which are expected to be valued more than 500 billion rupees ($6.4 billion).

The announcement comes only two days before the bidding for the television and internet broadcast rights to the extremely popular Indian Premier League, a two-month event held every April and May.

The source requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media about the matter. Amazon had opted not to participate in the auction because it did not see it as a feasible option for expansion in India, according to the source.

When bidding begins on Sunday, rivals such as Reliance Industries, which will bid through its television joint venture Viacom 18, Disney Plus Hotstar, and Sony Corp’s India subsidiary, will have a wide field.

The rights were purchased for 163.48 billion rupees ($2.1 billion) by Disney-owned Star India, one of the country’s leading broadcasters, as well as Sony and its planned acquisition Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEE.NS).

Bidding rights for the Indian Premier League are viewed as critical to the country’s burgeoning online streaming industry.

Analysts credit them with Disney’s massive lead over competitors in the cricket-crazed subcontinent, which has attracted more than 50 million paying customers to its platform, Disney Plus Hotstar.

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