Disney-Star had retained the television rights for Rs 23,575 cr, while Viacom18 purchased the rights for Rs 20,500 cr
Becoming a first for India’s sports broadcasting industry, Disney-Star and Zee Entertainment said on Tuesday that they had signed an exclusive licencing agreement for the television rights of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s and Under-19 tournaments for 2024–2027.
The agreement was signed just days after Disney-Star paid $3 billion in a closed-loop auction that required bids to be submitted in sealed envelopes in order to retain the combined TV and digital rights for the ICC Men’s, Women’s, and Under-19 tournaments until 2027.
According to sources, the licencing agreement is worth $1.5–1.6 billion, or 50–55% of the $3 billion total transaction value.
According to one executive “Digital is a big area of focus for Disney worldwide and in India”. “An interested party for the television rights has allowed Disney to defray its costs as far as the acquisition of the combined ICC rights is concerned. At the same time, it is keeping digital rights. This is a win-win for Disney,” the executive said.
Despite competing in two rounds of bidding, Disney-Star lost the digital rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2023–27 media cycle during the e-auction in June.
While Disney-Star had retained the television rights for Rs 23,575 crore, Viacom18 purchased the rights for Rs 20,500 crore.
“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,” said K Madhavan, country manager and president, Disney-Star.
Contrarily, six years after its re-entry into the market, Zee will be able to expand its sports broadcasting base by having access to the television feed of the ICC Men’s and Under-19 tournaments.
Zee acquired the worldwide rights to broadcast the UAE T20 League in May in its first deal to signal its re-entry into sports broadcasting for a price of Rs 800-900 crore.
The two broadcasters are apparently on the same page with regard to the licence arrangement as Zee and Sony merge.
Punit Goenka, managing director and CEO of Zee Entertainment, said that “The association with Disney-Star reflects our sharp, strategic vision for the sports business in India”.
In its June perspective on the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) business, PwC predicted that the roll-out of 5G service will lead to the emergence of new digital revenue models over the following few years.
“We will see a different profile of M&E businesses emerging with 5G,” said Rajib Basu, partner & leader, of entertainment and media, at PwC India.
Disney-Star seems to be focusing more on the digital space as it gets ready for this new round of action.