Disney Star sub-licenses 4-yr ICC men’s events TV rights to Zee

Zee Disney Star combo logo

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zee) and Disney Star, Tuesday announced that they have entered into a strategic licensing agreement by way of which Disney Star will license the television broadcasting rights of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s and Under 19 (U-19) global events for a period of four years, to ZEE. 

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.

Financial terms of the landmark agreement were not disclosed. As per media reports, Disney Star's winning bid for composite rights to world cricket's second most valuable media property after the Indian Premier League was in the $3 billion (Rs 25,000 crore) ball park.

This association enables Zee, which is in the closing stages of a merger agreement with Sony Pictures Networks India, to be the exclusive television rights holder of ICC men’s events, including the coveted T20 World Cup (2024, 2026), Champions Trophy (2025), and the ODI Cricket World Cup (2027) along with key ICC U-19 events.

Speaking about the strategic development, 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 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 & 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.”

For over three decades, Zee has been a leading entertainment company, continually strengthening its position across markets by identifying newer avenues for growth and delivering value to stakeholders across the board. With its strong connect and reach across the country, Zee reaffirms its commitment of presenting thrilling international cricket action to viewers and elevating the experience and engagement to unprecedented heights.

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.