Less than a year after parting ways with ESPN-dubbed the Worldwide Leader in Sports-Star Sports strengthened their standing as the leader of world sports coverage in India on Sunday after retaining the broadcast rights for all ICC events over the next eight years. While the exact value of the partnership wasn’t made official, the ICC announced in their press release that it was the ‘biggest ever’ and ‘significantly in excess of the previous commercial deals’.
The network had held the rights for all of cricket’s marquee multinational events during the previous eight years too, after having bought them in 2006-as ESPN-Star-for reportedly a sum of $1.1 billion. In 2012, they bagged the rights for broadcasting all of India’s home matches as well as the entire domestic season for a reported cost of Rs 3,851 crore over a six-year period.
In addition to cricket, Star have been responsible for bringing the top European football leagues to Indian television sets as well as a number of major tennis tournaments, including a couple of Grand Slams.
They are also the home of almost all the franchise-based sports leagues in the country, from the Indian Badminton League (IBL), Hockey India League (HIL) to the Pro-Kabaddi League (PKL). And incidentally, the Indian Super League (ISL), the country’s first-ever football extravaganza, kicked off on the same day as the announcement of the new eight-year deal between the ICC and Star.
“Star has an outstanding reputation as a sports broadcaster and has played an integral role in promoting and growing the game by taking coverage of ICC Events to a truly global and record-breaking audience, and we look forward to this continuing for another eight years,” ICC chairman N Srinivasan was quoted as saying in the press release.
Only the IPL has remained out of their grasp. But not for long, you imagine with Sony’s 10-year deal with the T20 event set to conclude in four years’ time. Earlier this year, starsports.com became the official online streaming partner for the IPL. And while awarding players for ‘keeping their calm’ during matches, they coolly claimed that their viewership was almost on par as the NFL Super Bowl.
The broadcast rights package had been one of the main reasons for the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia to rewrite the hierarchy of the ICC and come up with the new revenue distribution model. Over the next eight years, Star will broadcast two ICC World Cups, two World T20s and a same number of Champions Trophies.
Not surprisingly, all six events will be held either in India, Australia or England. The lower-profile ICC events, including the U-19 World Cup, the Women’s World Cup and the T20 qualifiers, are also part of the deal and will be spread across the other full-members of cricket’s apex body.
ICC CEO Dave Richardson, however, insisted that the new deal guaranteed more money for all the members. Giles Clarke, ECB chairman and the ICC’s finance committee, also seconded the former South Africa wicket-keeper’s stand.
“This innovative and exciting partnership will underpin the long-term financial health of the global game and provide real stability for all our Members. This deal benefits all ICC Members and will allow them to improve their competitiveness and public interest in a targeted and sustainable way,” he said.
Meanwhile, Star CEO Uday Shankar also lauded the ‘landmark’ deal. “We are delighted and honoured to extend our partnership with ICC. Star will constantly attempt to reinvent the viewer experience to make cricket bigger and bigger,” he’s quoted as saying in the release.