afaqs! news bureau
Media

Sidhu and Manjrekar pull up ICC for being unfair to Disney Star

The criticism brings to light concerns over pitch preparation and the impact it has on the match viewership and the advertisers' interest.

Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar have criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the poor pitch conditions in the semi-final match between Afghanistan and South Africa during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

In the match, held at Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad, Afghanistan was bowled out for a mere 56 runs in 11.5 overs. South Africa chased down the target in 8.5 overs with the loss of only one wicket.

In his commentary during the match, Manjrekar voiced his concerns, stating, "It was a nightmare for the batters, and Afghanistan paid a heavy price. You can't prepare an unfit pitch for the semi-final. What about the broadcasters? They are the ones who are taking massive risks by investing a big amount in TV rights. Players will come and play, but the broadcasting channel makes the real deal. ICC has taken them for a ride. They will lose money as there was no contest in the semi-final."

Sidhu echoed Manjrekar’s sentiments, highlighting that the pitch conditions not only affected the players but also the broadcasters, who have invested significantly in the tournament.

Disney Star has invested $3 billion in acquiring the ICC media rights from 2024 to 2027. The network had licensed its TV broadcasting rights to Zee Entertainment. However, due to the collapse of the merger agreement with Sony Pictures Networks India, Zee withdrew from the deal. 

The Walt Disney Company is expecting a loss in its streaming business in Q3 FY24 due to ICC digital rights, which is held by Disney+ Hotstar. Hugh Johnston, CFO, Walt Disney, during its recent earnings call, said, “We are forecasting a loss for Entertainment DTC in the third quarter, the vast majority of which is due to Disney+ Hotstar's ICC cricket rights.”

The criticism brings to light concerns over pitch preparation and the impact it has on the match viewership and the advertisers' interest, ultimately taking a financial toll on the broadcasters.

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com