Star and Sky Sports retain ICC cricket rights

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has jointly awarded the global media rights to its major competitions to Star India and Star Middle East from 2015 to 2023.

Star and Sky Sports retain ICC cricket rights

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has jointly awarded the global media rights to its major competitions to Star India and Star Middle East from 2015 to 2023.

The News Corp-owned broadcasters will air a suite of tournaments including the ICC Cricket World Cup and ICC World T20 in their home territories, and will sub-license the rights in other markets. Sky Sports has already reached a deal with Star to remain the exclusive home of the events in the UK and Ireland, seeing off competition from rival subscription broadcaster BT Sport.

The decision was announced by the ICC Business Corporation Board, the body's commercial arm, in Dubai over the weekend. Although financial terms were not released, the fee is said to be 'significantly in excess' of previous ICC deals. Earlier this year the ICC completed a radical and controversial overhaul of its governance structures, apparently in a bid to project stability to prospective comercial partners ahead of these negotiations. The expectation was that these changes would help guarantee an income of US$2.5 billion over the upcoming cycle.

Among the 18 ICC tournaments included in the package are the 50-over Cricket World Cups in England in 2019 and India in 2023, the World T20 events in 2016 and 2020, and two editions of the ICC Champions Trophy, in 2017 and 2021. Women's tournaments and under-19 events are also part of the deal.

ICC chairman N Srinivasan paid tribute to the strength of the organisation's partnership with Star. He added: "This commitment for the next eight years will ensure greater stability for ICC members as well as increased funding for developing and established countries. Emerging nations will have access to the largest funding resource in the history of the game and the board has fully endorsed this framework as the best means of safeguarding the future of the sport.

"The level of investment committed by Star shows that the game is stronger than ever before and hopefully with this financial stability for the next eight years, we can implement plans to strengthen and grow the game further, making it an even bigger and better global game."

Star India chief executive Uday Shankar said: "We are delighted and honoured to extend our partnership with ICC. This is a tribute to Star's commitment and ICC's trust in our ability to take the great game of cricket to the next level. Star will constantly attempt to reinvent the viewer experience to make cricket bigger and bigger."

Responding to Sky Sports' retention of the rights in the UK, managing director Barney Francis said: "We’re delighted to be awarded the ICC rights and strengthen Sky Sports’ unrivalled commitment to cricket even further. Our cricket schedule keeps getting stronger and by adding events such as the World Cup, World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy, we’ve never offered our viewers such choice from all formats of the game."

ESPN Star Sports, then a joint venture between New Corp's Star and Disney's ESPN, is the current rights holder with a contract covering next year's Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.