ZEE forays into big sports with Disney Star licensing deal to broadcast ICC cricket

This development comes at a time when sports is becoming increasingly vital to acquire and retain viewers across digital and broadcasting platforms.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) entered into a licensing agreement with Disney Star, allowing the entertainment conglomerate to broadcast International Cricket Council's (ICC) men's and under-19 cricket tournaments for four years.

The upcoming T20 World Cups (2024 and 2026), Cricket World Cup (2027), and Champions Trophy (2025) will be broadcasted on Zee's sports channels. Disney Star will continue to stream the tournaments on Disney+ Hotstar, its streaming platform.

The television licensing deal has got in-principle approval from International Cricket Council (ICC), the cricket governing body.

"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," Punit Goenka, Managing Director and CEO, ZEEL, said in a release.

ZEEL has acquired the rights to broadcast ICC's cricket tournaments for four years.

"Long-term profitability and value-generation continue to be our areas of focus across the business," Punit added.

This development comes at a time when sports, especially cricket, are becoming increasingly vital to acquire and retain viewers over digital and broadcasting platforms. The fierce Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, where Viacom18 acquired the digital rights, was touted as a big win for Reliance Industries-owned media arm. The company is expected to attract big viewership for its streaming platform Voot as Disney+ Hotstar did for the last five years.

The licensing deal would also help ZEE attract more advertisements and channel subscriptions, according to Abneesh Roy, Executive Director, Edelweiss Financial Service—an investment and financial services firm.

"With the help of this agreement, Zee gets to foray into the missing link in its content offering—sports," Abneesh told YourStory.

Currently, ZEE owns the rights for United Arab Emirates' T20 league—which is a small tournament compared to IPL.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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