March 27, 2023

Broadcaster Disney Star has retained the rights to telecast (ICC) tournaments till 2027 for $3 billion, persons in the know said.

The network won the closed-loop bid process after beating rivals, such as Sony, Zee and Viacom18, the announced on Saturday evening. The had submitted their bids in the Friday auction,

The winning bid, however, is double the base price of $1.44 billion for a four-year cycle, according to a source.

The deal includes both digital and television rights for men’s and women’s tournaments. It is a big plus for Disney Star, which had lost the digital rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2023-27 cycle to Viacom18 in June.

Disney Star had retained the television rights of the IPL for Rs 23,575 crore, whereas, the digital rights were picked up by Viacom18 for Rs 20,500 crore.

“Under the new four year agreement, Disney Star has retained the exclusive digital streaming and television rights for both men’s and women’s events through 2027. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with in the years ahead,” K. Madhavan, country manager and president, Disney Star, said.

Madhavan added that Disney Star had played an important role over the past seven years in transforming ICC games into one of the biggest sporting spectacles in India and had expanded the viewer base of the property across geographies and demographics in the country.

The extension of the ICC rights adds to the company’s portfolio of cricket properties, which include the television rights for Indian Premier League (2023-27), digital rights to Cricket Australia (2024-31), BCCI broadcast rights through the 2024 and Cricket South Africa (end of 2023-24 season).

In addition to cricket, Disney Star also offers Pro Kabbadi League, Indian Super League and various international rights, including the Wimbledon Championships and the English Premier League, Madhavan said.

Concerns had heightened over the last few days after PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) stepped down as auditor in the run up to the auction. All four broadcasters had submitted their bids after protesting about the lack of transparency in a closed-loop exercise. Though Amazon initially showed interest to bid for the rights, it was not a part of the process on Friday.

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