India’s Zee Leisure Enterprises Restricted (ZEEL) isn’t continuing with a $1.4 billion cricket rights deal it had struck with Disney Star in 2022, based on a report from Reuters.
Cricket is the preferred sport in India, the world’s most populous nation. In August 2022, Disney Star had gained Indian TV and digital rights to each males’s and ladies’s world occasions performed by the Worldwide Cricket Council (ICC) from 2024 by means of 2027. Every week later it licenced Indian tv broadcasting rights for ICC males’s and under-19 tournaments to ZEEL for 4 years.
Beneath the phrases of the deal, Disney Star would proceed to be the unique streaming house for all ICC tournaments in India by way of streamer Disney+ Hotstar. ZEEL could be the unique Indian tv rights holder of ICC males’s occasions, together with the ICC Males’s T20 World Cup (2024, 2026), ICC Males’s Champions Trophy (2025), and the ICC Males’s Cricket World Cup (2027) together with a number of ICC under-19 occasions.
Nonetheless, earlier this week, Sony Group Company ended its greater than two-year try and merge its TV and streaming companies in India with ZEEL. The deal would have been value $10 billion. The information worn out some 30% of ZEEL’s share worth. Sony and ZEEL at the moment are in a authorized battle, with the previous claiming a $90 million termination payment from the latter.
Quoting “two folks with direct information of the matter,” the Reuters report says that ZEEL missed the primary $200 million cost to Disney in current weeks. ZEEL additionally informed Disney that it was “strolling again on the deal,” Reuters mentioned.
“The deal is off… Zee mentioned they aren’t able to pay,” Reuters mentioned, quoting one of many sources. “Zee fully reneged on the rights.”
Disney declined to remark when approached by Selection. ZEEL had not responded to Selection‘s request for remark on the time of publication.
The event has a possible bigger ramification. Disney and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries have in current weeks moved nearer to a merger of their huge Indian TV and streaming companies. A mixture of the 2 – which embody rival streaming platforms, India’s main pay-TV platform and over 100 linear TV channels – has the potential to considerably re-shape the Indian media and leisure scene. The non-payment of the $1.4 billion cricket rights payment to Disney may wipe that quantity, or extra, off the worth of the corporate’s India operations.