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Reliance targets increased presence in Indian sports media market

Adam Lallana of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the equaliser during the Premier League match against Manchester United (by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries is seeking to increase its presence in the domestic sports streaming market in order to boost the appeal of mobile and broadband services from its telco subsidiary, Jio.

Nita Ambani, a Reliance board member whose husband Mukesh is the group’s chairman and controlling shareholder, told the Financial Times newspaper that the company is currently conducting a market study, adding that rights such as football’s English Premier League could be a target.

“I would be very interested to get the digital rights of some of these games to be shown on digital in India,” Ambani said.

Jio launched in 2016 and currently has around 340 million mobile customers. The company last month entered India’s broadband market, while it already has an established presence in sports media rights through properties such as matches staged by the Board of Control of Cricket in India.

Nita Ambani heads up Reliance’s sports businesses, with the conglomerate owning Indian Premier League cricket franchise the Mumbai Indians and one of the co-founders of club football competition the Indian Super League.

Nita Ambani said Reliance currently spends around $85m (€76.1m) per year on its various sporting ventures, adding that she is currently in talks with the BCCI over launching a women’s version of the IPL.

She is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, with the Indian Olympic Association last year submitting a formal expression of interest to bid for the 2032 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On the possibility of India hosting the Games, the 55-year-old added: “I retire from (the IOC) at the age of 70, so hopefully before that. As long as India hosts it, I’m happy. I think it will be a dream for all the children in India to see the Olympics in India and Indians winning medals.”