The empire has struck back.
After previously losing out on a major rights deal, Disney Star has rebounded and will have Indian cricket among its subscription offerings.
The International Cricket Council said today that Disney Star won the TV and digital rights to its men’s and women’s global events through to the end of 2027. Disney won the package in a single-round, sealed bid process. The bid was not revealed, but resulted in what the ICC termed “a significant uplift to the rights fee from the previous cycle, continuing the impressive growth and reach of cricket.”
The deal marks a comeback of sorts for Disney+ in the Indian market. Earlier this year, rival Viacom18 won the rights to stream a cricket package from the Indian Premier League, one of that country’s and the world’s top league. The deal made Viacom18 — a joint venture between Paramount and India’s Reliance Industries — increasingly powerful in the Indian media market, and put a roadblock on Disney’s hopes to reach between 230 million and 260 million Disney+ subscribers globally by 2024.
Viacom18 paid nearly $3 billion for the IPL rights. That price was an increase from the $2.5 billion that 21st Century Fox paid for the combined TV and streaming rights package in 2017. Disney took over those rights when it bought Fox in 2019.
Now, Disney has stuck back, albeit with a league of lesser stature.
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ICC Chair Greg Barclay was effusive in his praise of the new cricket deal. “We are delighted to continue to partner with Disney Star as the home of ICC cricket for the next four years which has delivered an outstanding result for our Members and will support our ambitious growth plans. They will play a crucial role in the future of our sport and connecting and engaging with more fans than ever before.,
Barclay added: “Having a broadcast and digital partner for women’s events in India is a significant step forward in our ambition to accelerate the growth of the women’s game. Disney Star presented impressive plans for the promotion of women’s cricket and they clearly share our vision so I’m incredibly excited by the size of the opportunity ahead.
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