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August 30, 2022

Star keeps ICC rights in India with ‘significant’ uplift in rights fee

The major Indian pay-TV broadcaster saw off strong competition to retain the rights for another four years.

By Tariq Saleh

Star India, the prominent pay-TV broadcaster, has retained domestic rights for the next cycle of International Cricket Council (ICC) major global events until 2027.

The broadcaster won following “a single round sealed bid process” which the ICC said has yielded a “significant” uplift to the rights fee from the previous cycle.

Star came out on top after a “robust” tender, bidding, and evaluation process, which started in June.

The pay-TV operator, which has secured both TV and digital rights, saw off competition from Sony Pictures Network (SPN), Viacom 18, and Zee TV, all of which submitted bids.

The four media firms each paid the $3.25-million bid deposit to participate in the bidding process in India (cricket’s most lucrative market).

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 Cup 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.

It was recently reported that Star had outlined multiple objections to the ICC’s media rights tender process and considered not participating due to some of the clauses.

Star – which has been the ICC’s media rights partner in India since 2007 – was most concerned about the governing body’s perceived lack of transparency regarding whether bids for four or eight years was preferred.

Despite the men’s cycle being an eight-year term, the ICC had stipulated that bids had to initially be for four years but that optional submissions until 2031 could also be submitted on top of that.

Star’s main issue with the ICC’s stance on the length of the tender was that it did not know what value the governing body required for an eight-year bid – whether it needed to be exactly double the value of a four-year bid – and what formula was being used by the ICC to determine the value.

The major Indian broadcaster seemingly overcame those issues to win the tender process and extend its long-standing partnership with the ICC.

Greg Barclay, ICC chair, said: “We are delighted to continue to partner with Star as the home of ICC cricket for the next four years, which has delivered an outstanding result for our members and will support our ambitious growth plans. It will play a crucial role in the future of our sport and connecting and engaging with more fans than ever before.

“Having a broadcast and digital partner for women’s events in India is a significant step forward in our ambition to accelerate the growth of the women’s game. Star presented impressive plans for the promotion of women’s cricket and it clearly shares our vision so I’m incredibly excited by the size of the opportunity ahead.

“This was an incredibly competitive process, which isn’t surprising given the huge audiences that cricket consistently attracts with more than a billion fans that passionately follow the game globally.”

K Madhavan, Star country manager and president, added: “We are delighted at being able to continue our association with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and look forward to strengthening our partnership by growing the sport of cricket in the years ahead.

“With the acquisition of the ICC digital and TV broadcast rights, Star has further strengthened its status as the premier destination for marquee cricket events in the country.”

After the conclusion of the Indian tender, the ICC board will soon release invitations to tender (ITTs) for additional markets around the world.

Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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