05 Jan

England’s forthcoming cricket tour to India is set to be shown in the UK via the Walt Disney Company’s Hotstar streaming service. 

Pay-television broadcaster Star India, which is now part of Disney, currently holds rights to all international and domestic cricket matches played in the country under a five-year deal that was signed with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in April 2018. 

Star has previously looked to sell on series rights to overseas broadcasters, but The Telegraph claims that Disney is seriously considering retaining rights to England’s tour, which is set to run from February 5 to March 28 comprising four Tests, five Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals. 

Disney is expected to exploit the rights in the UK through the Hotstar streaming service, which is set to be made available in Europe through its OTT streaming service Disney+ from February 23. 

UK pay-television broadcaster Sky has held a virtual monopoly over England’s home and away international matches since 1990, with this run only being broken when rival BT Sport secured rights to the 2017-18 Ashes in Australia. BT secured the exclusive rights as part of a deal with the Cricket Australia governing body that runs for five years, from 2016-17 to 2020-21. 

With this contract now coming to a close, The Telegraph said that online retail giant Amazon is in advanced talks over rights to the next Ashes, while adding that Sky remains a strong contender as it would be interested in wider content such as Australia’s other home internationals and the domestic Big Bash T20 league. 

In November, Amazon showed its appetite for cricket content by acquiring the media rights in India for international matches played in New Zealand in a deal covering the Southern Hemisphere seasons from 2020-21 to 2025-26. The deal represented the company’s first live sports rights acquisition in India. 

John Stephenson 


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