NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG)- Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate is bringing together a consortium aiming to outbid entertainment giants Amazon, Walt Disney and Sony for the telecast rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) - a prize that could be worth US$5 billion (S$6.73 billion) or more in the cricket-crazy nation of almost 1.4 billion people.
Helmed by Asia's richest man, Reliance Industries and its television partner Viacom are in talks to include James Murdoch-founded Lupa Systems as well as Comcast in the consortium, according to people familiar with the development, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.
Bids are likely to exceed 400 billion rupees (S$7.22 billion), the people said.
Amazon will join the bidding war as it looks to spruce up its sports offerings for Amazon Prime, two of the people said.
Walt Disney, which acquired the event's telecast rights through 2022 with the acquisition of Star, will be in the fray.
Sony is expected to bid with Zee Entertainment pending regulatory clearances on their proposed merger, two other people said.
Deliberations are ongoing and details may change.
The bids will be submitted to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which will allocate the rights for five years starting in 2023. A winner is likely to be announced around the end of next month or early April.
Sony "will evaluate bidding for both broadcast and digital rights for the upcoming IPL", said a spokesperson for its Indian unit.
Zee declined to comment. Representatives for Reliance, Comcast, Lupa, Amazon and Disney did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Reuters reported on Sunday that Reliance and Amazon were among those looking to bid for the broadcast rights.
The fight for the IPL - a cult event that is considered the Super Bowl of cricket - spotlights the jostle among streaming platforms to win eyeballs in the largest consumer market that is open to foreign firms.
Last year's edition of the IPL brought in 380 million viewers. Whoever wins telecast rights will likely win millions of new subscribers in a highly competitive market that has seen the likes of Netflix struggle.
The IPL is a shorter version of cricket, played in stadiums with thousands of fans. The games feature merchandise and a carnival atmosphere.