Last week, Disney Star won TV and digital rights to both men’s and women’s International Cricket Council global events through to the end of 2027.
Disney wanted to secure some rights to some Indian cricket after they lost the auction for the digital India Premier League Cricket rights to Viacom18, which resulted in Disney lowering its expectations for how many subscribers Disney+ will have globally by the end of 2024 by 15 million. With Disney securing these cricket rights, it should help reduce the number of people who unsubscribe to Disney+ Hotstar in India.
And just days after securing the ICC rights, it was announced that Disney has licenced Indian television broadcasting rights for men’s and under-19 ICC tournaments to ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd for four years. Some of the tournaments included in this deal include the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup (2024, 2026), ICC Men’s Champions Trophy (2025), and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup (2027) along with several ICC under-19 events.
As part of the deal, Disney will be retaining the streaming rights for these ICC tournaments for Disney+ Hotstar in India.
Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. said in a statement:
“This is a first-of-its-kind partnership in the Indian media and entertainment landscape, and this association with Disney Star reflects our sharp, strategic vision for the sports business in India. As a one-stop television destination for ICC men’s cricket events until 2027, ZEE will leverage the strength of its network to offer a compelling experience for its viewers and a great return on investment for its advertisers. 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.”
K. Madhavan, country manager and president, Disney Star, added:
“By securing the IPL television broadcast rights for 2023-27 and now opting to retain only the digital rightsfor ICC tournaments for 2024-27, we have in place a balanced and robust cricket offering for our audiences across linear and digital. Over the years, Disney Star has strengthened the appeal of international cricket in India, enabling it to reach diverse age groups and cultural demographics across all parts of the country. As India’s leading media house, we will continue to do so with our strong portfolio of cricket properties across television and digital.”
With the ICC digital rights secured for the next four years, Disney Star retains its
position as the Home of Sports in India. Its current portfolio also includes the television
rights for IPL (2023-27), television and digital rights for Cricket Australia (2023-2030),
television and digital BCCI rights (2023) and television and digital rights for Cricket
South Africa (end of 2023-2024). In addition to cricket, it also offers other major sports
properties on its platforms including Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Super League, the
Wimbledon Championship and the English Premier League.
Disney has already spent billions of dollars obtaining the traditional linear rights to the IPL, so it looks like it has done this new deal just to secure some cricket content for Disney+ Hotstar and subletting the linear deal with ICC, offsets those costs.
What do you think of this deal?