International Cricket Council rights owner, Disney Star, signed a strategic licensing agreement to share TV rights for ICC men’s events with Zee Entertainment on Tuesday. This comes after Disney Star won the rights to air ICC’s global matches from 2023-2027 on Saturday.
Under the strategic agreement, Disney Star will license the television broadcasting rights of the ICC Men’s and Under 19 (U-19) global events to Zee for four years. Disney Star will continue to be the exclusive home for streaming of all ICC tournaments through its digital platform, Disney+ Hotstar. ICC has in- principle approved this arrangement.
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. said: “This is a first-of-its-kind partnership in the Indian media & 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 its viewers a compelling experience 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.”
K Madhavan, Country Manager & President, Disney Star said: “By securing the IPL television broadcast rights for 2023-27 and now opting to retain only the digital rights for 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.”
The tournaments covered under this deal include the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup in June 2024, the Men’s Champions Trophy in February 2025, ICC T20 Men’s World Cup in 2026 , Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2027, and a few under-19 tournaments.
According to experts, Disney Star has undertaken this licensing agreement to mitigate its concentration risk in one market in TV Rights (IPL TV rights and India Bilateral series are with Disney Star, which is quite expensive). With this licensing agreement, exclusive TV rights go to Zee, while Disney Star continues to retain exclusive digital rights.
The strategic agreement will allow Zee and later Zee-Sony to commence its foray in Sports in a major way.
This comes after Disney Star only retained TV rights for the Indian Premier League earlier this year. Viacom18 won the digital rights for streaming IPL matches from incumbent Disney Star.