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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Star India hauls Zee Entertainment to London court over ICC broadcasting rights deal

In August 2022, Zee entered into an Alliance Agreement with Star India, part of global media giant Disney Star, for a sub-license of TV broadcasting rights of ICC Men’s and Under 19 international matches from 2024 to 2027

Our Bureau Mumbai Published 16.03.24, 10:59 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Star India has initiated arbitration proceedings against Zee Entertainment Enterprises in the London Court of International Arbitration over non-compliance with the agreement for the sub-licensing of TV broadcasting rights of ICC international matches from 2024 to 2027.

Star India, part of global media giant Disney Star, has sought specific performance of the Alliance Agreement or to pay damages of the $1.4 billion deal, which are yet to be determined, according to a regulatory filing from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

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“On March 14, 2024, Star India initiated arbitration proceedings against the Company (Zee), under the alliance agreement dated August 26, 2022, entered between Star and the Company, by filing a request for arbitration (under the Arbitration Rules of the London Court of International Arbitration),” it said.

However, Zee based on preliminary assessment and legal advice received “disagrees with the averments made by Star,” it said.

The company “will be filing appropriate response to the said application, make counterclaims and undertake such actions, as may be required,” Zee added.

In August 2022, Zee entered into an Alliance Agreement with Star India for a sub-license of TV broadcasting rights of ICC Men’s and Under 19 international matches from 2024 to 2027.

Zee had missed the first instalment of $203.56 million, following which Star India had in December quarter sent letters through its legal counsel alleging breach of the Alliance Agreement. Disney Star bagged the broadcast rights of all ICC events for four years from 2024 to 2027 for the Indian market from the sport’s global governing body.

Under the agreement, Zee was supposed to have exclusive television rights for ICC men’s events, including the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which will be played in 2024 and 2026, ICC Men’s Champions Trophy (2025) and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup (2027), along with key ICC U-19 events, it said.

“Star India has claimed that the Company is in non-compliance with the terms of the Alliance Agreement dated 26 August 2022 which had been executed between Star and the Company for setting out the basis on which Star would be willing to grant the sub-license rights for the ICC men’s cricket events from 2024 to 2027,” informed Zee in the regulatory filing.

This would be the second major arbitration against Zee in the last three months.

Earlier in January, Sony Corp terminated the agreement with Zee for the merger of its Indian entertainment business with it. Besides, Sony had also initiated appropriate legal actions to contest the claims of $90 million (Rs 748.5 crore) filed by Sony Group before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

Key man quits

Zee Entertainment’s president and group chief technology officer Nitin Mittal has resigned as the company streamlines the vertical. The board of the company has accepted the resignation of Mittal, who was working in this role for the last two years, it added.

This announcement comes amid strategic changes in the technology and data vertical, implemented by managing director and CEO Punit Goenka, a Zee statement said.

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