Star Sports acquires New Zealand Cricket media rights for 3 years

MUMBAI: Following the loss of Cricket Australia rights to rival Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), Star India’s sports arm Star Sports has acquired the broadcast and digital rights for New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia till 2020.

For the next three years, Star Sports will be the official home of all men’s and women’s International matches being organised in New Zealand. India is expected to play a total of 3 Tests, 10 ODIs, and 3 T20s during this period in New Zealand.

For NZC, this is a major breakthrough as it has been finding it difficult to sell media rights in the Indian market for multiple years. The previous long-term deal signed by the NZC was with Neo Sports Broadcast in 2013 for a seven-year period. However, that deal was terminated by NZC due to the violation of the contract.

After Neo’s exit, SPNI acquired the rights to India-New Zealand cricket series in 2014 for TV and digital. Post the India series, the broadcaster didn’t show any interest in inking a long-term deal with NZC.

Sports media rights distribution company Sporty Solutionz had in 2015 acquired New Zealand cricket rights for South Asia minus India till 2017. However, that deal will come to an end as the first tournament to be broadcast under Star Sports’ partnership with NZC will be West Indies’ tour of New Zealand beginning from 1 December.

The partnership will see many high octane international series being broadcast on Star Sports’ rich bouquet of offerings including a resurgent Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand and the much-anticipated tri-series between Australia, New Zealand, and England in early 2018.

A Star India spokesperson said, “Star Sports is proud to become the home of New Zealand Cricket in India. In recent years, the New Zealand cricket team has delivered a strong performance on the field, taking it to number 1 in the T20 rankings. With two India tours to New Zealand over the next two years, Indian sports fans are in for very exciting cricket on Star Sports.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said, “We’re delighted to form this partnership with Star, India’s leading sports broadcaster, and a market leader in the industry. It’s great to be aligned with such go-ahead, progressive broadcasters, well known for their innovative approach, and for putting fans and businesses first.”

White added he was particularly pleased with the agreement given NZC’s push to extend its global reach and to build closer relationships with fans around the world.

Star India is the biggest player in the sports broadcasting market. It owns and operates 12 sports channels including Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports Select HD 1, Star Sports Select HD 2, and Star Sports First. Its 13th sports channel Star Sports 1 Kannada will launch on 16 November.

The broadcaster also holds rights to a number of properties including the global media rights for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Domestic and International Cricket Series matches in India through 31 March 2018, the International Cricket Council global rights through the season-ending 2023, Asian Cricket Council global rights through the season-ending 2023, the England and Wales Cricket Board matches through the season-ending 2017, English Premier League soccer through 2019, French Open tennis through 2021, Federation Internationale De Hockey through 2022, Wimbledon through 2019 and Bundesliga through 2020.