Disney Star's 'Masterstroke' ICC Deal With Zee Hits A Sticky Wicket

Disney Star announced its decision to license the TV broadcasting rights for ICC Men's and U-19 global events to Zee for the 2024-27 cycle in August 2023, yet there’s been no forward movement on the arrangement.

What Happened? As highlighted by a News18 report, Disney Star won the broadcast and digital rights to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) global events in India for the 2024-27 cycle but chose to license a portion of these rights to Zee Entertainment Enterprises last year.

In a move hailed as a “masterstroke” by industry experts, Disney Star has retained digital rights for ICC Men's and U-19 tournaments, and both digital and broadcast rights for ICC women's events for the Indian market.

Disney Star’s choice to license part of the rights, which reportedly cost them $3.04 billion (₹25,091 crore), to Zee is seen as a strategy to both reduce the financial burden of the deal and maximise the potential of the digital component.

See also: Disney Scores 28 Sponsors For The 2023 ICC WTC Final: Report

However, progress on the arrangement has stalled, as a proposed merger between Zee and Sony for the broadcast rights has yet to occur. Additionally, Zee has not provided Disney-Star with a bank guarantee for the deal. Currently, only a contract between the ICC and Disney Star and a joint press release from Disney and Zee outlining the new arrangement exist.

Despite these complications, Disney-Star is under increasing pressure, as they will be the ones to pay the ICC regardless of the outcome between Disney-Star and Zee, and then Zee and Sony.

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