Star India, the heavyweight pay-TV broadcaster that has secured full and exclusive rights to International Cricket Council (ICC) events between 2024 and 2027, has licensed out a package of the rights to Zee Entertainment Enterprises, a rival network.
The agreement, announced yesterday (August 30), will see Zee cover on linear TV all major ICC men’s and under-19’s tournaments in India for the four-year cycle, with incumbent rightsholder Star to retain digital rights to those events.
Both TV and digital rights for the ICC women’s tournaments during that period will remain with Star.
Both parties, in a media release yesterday, said that the ICC had given its approval “in principle.”
The ICC confirmed on Sunday (August 28) that Star had secured both TV and digital rights to all major men’s, women’s, and under-19 events during the next cycle, beating off competition from other significant Indian broadcasters such as Sony Picture Networks (SPN), Viacom, and indeed Zee.
The body had included a provision in its bid document that gave the winner the opportunity to sub-license a package.
K Madhavan, Disney Star’s country manager and president, said that opting to issue out the TV rights to Zee has allowed Star to put “in place a balanced and robust cricket offering for our audiences across linear and digital.”
Punit Goenka, chief executive officer and managing director at Zee, added: “Long-term profitability and value-generation continue to be our areas of focus across the business, and we will always evaluate all the necessary steps that will enable us to make sports a compelling value proposition for the company. We look forward to working with ICC and Disney Star, to enable this strategic offering for our television viewers in India."
It is expected that the ICC’s final approval for this deal will come after necessary guarantees are provided from both parties.
Star came out on top to secure the full ICC Indian rights package for the next cycle following a single round sealed bid process” which the ICC said has yielded a “significant” uplift to the rights fee from the previous cycle.
The broadcaster has been awarded the rights after a “robust” tender, bidding, and evaluation process, which started in June.
As opposed to the 2014 tender process, the ICC specified that rights allocated by this tender only extended to the Indian market, not worldwide, and also covers women's global events as well as men's for the first time.
Star will continue to have rights to cover all major ICC global tournaments for the next four years between 2024-27.
India is set to host the Women’s World Cup in 2025 and co-host the men’s T20 World Cup in 2026.
The men’s events in the four-year period also include the 2024 T20 World Cup (USA and West Indies), the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy (Pakistan), and the 2027 World Cup (South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia).
The additional women’s events include the T20 World Cups in Bangladesh in 2024 and England in 2026 and the 2027 ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.
Star’s present deal for the ongoing 2015-23 period is set to culminate after the men’s ICC Cricket World Cup in India next October and November. When Star snapped up rights in October 2014, it did so globally, paying $1.9 billion.
After the conclusion of the Indian tender, the ICC board will soon release invitations to tender for additional markets around the world.
The Indian tender was conducted first as the market is by far and away cricket’s most lucrative.