@HenryWAClark 3 minute read
With the first Test in Chennai just over a week away, there is still no definitive answer of where England fans will be able to watch the India-England series on TV.
Star Sports, who are owned by Disney, own the rights to international cricket played in India. Star Sports are able to sell the rights to broadcasters in other parts of the world but appeared to be choosing to keep them to themselves on this occasion.
In December the Telegraph reported that from February 23, a day before the third Test of the series gets underway, Hotstar content will be also available on Disney+. However, The Times cricket reporter Elizabeth Ammon explained on Twitter that the new Star brand joining Disney+ is unrelated to both Hotstar and Star Sports, with a statement from Disney+ explaining the streaming platform will not be the home of Hotstar content.
There is some confusion. There’s a new brand going into Disney Plus in February. It’s called Star but is entirely unrelated to Star Sports or Hotstar. This is the statement I got from Disney +. pic.twitter.com/aTImgqUitL
— Elizabeth Ammon (@legsidelizzy) January 25, 2021
According to the Telegraph, the rapid rise in popularity of streaming services such as the Disney+ channel has led to Disney reconsidering whether to retain the rights. Disney recently announced they expect to increase their number of subscribers to between 230 million and 260 million by 2024.
Further confusing the picture, Hotstar tweeted to a fan to confirm they do not have the rights to stream the series in the UK.
Hi. Unfortunately, we do not have the rights to stream this tournament in the UK 🙁
— Hotstar UK (@hotstarUK) January 24, 2021
Evening Standard cricket correspondent Will Macpherson confirmed to his followers that, as of Tuesday, Disney remains undecided on their decision over the television rights.
still not clear. Disney have the rights as per this piece but it's still unclear what they're doing with them https://t.co/Fvu8fjyzOt
— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) January 26, 2021
Disney already have a presence in cricket as owners of ESPNcricinfo, one of the most popular cricket websites in the world. If they were to retain the rights and stream on their own service, it would mean cricket fans would need four separate subscriptions to watch all the international cricket on offer.
This came after Amazon acquired the India territory rights for New Zealand home international cricket from late 2021 through to the New Zealand home 2025/26 summer. The Jeff Bezos-owned company are also understood to be interested in broadcasting next winter’s Ashes series.
Sky continue to hold the rights for home England series while BT Sport have recently shown Australia’s home series against India and New Zealand’s two-Test contest against Pakistan.