Star’s revenue from sports biz drops 39%

Operating losses for Walt Disney-owned Star India’s sports business widened 82% to $432 million for the fiscal year ended September 2023, according to the media conglomerate’s annual filings.

Star’s sports business, which comprises Star Sports-branded channels, has seen its annual revenue drop by 39% to $729 million due to the telecast of fewer Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

In the previous fiscal, the company had aired more IPL match as the second half of the IPL 2021 season shifted into fiscal 2022 due to Covid-19.

The Indian media giant’s ad revenue from sports dipped 59% to $318 million, while affiliate revenue fell 1% to $272 million.

Walt Disney follows the October to September financial calendar while Star India follows the April to March fiscal calendar.

Disney said the lower ad revenue from Star’s sports business was due to decrease of 38% from fewer impressions, 14% from lower rates, and 7% from an unfavourable foreign exchange impact.Star’s expenses from the sports business dropped 20% to $1.02 billion due to lower costs for cricket programming and a favourable foreign exchange impact.The decrease in cricket programming costs was attributable to fewer IPL matches and lower average costs per match for IPL and International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup matches.

The company operates 10 Star-branded sports channels in India in 4 languages. Star has rights to various sports programming, including IPL TV rights, ICC digital rights, and Premier League, among others.

Earlier, it held the rights to all IPL, ICC, and BCCI media rights. It lost IPL digital and BCCI media rights to Viacom18, while it sub-licenced the ICC TV rights to Zee Entertainment. Star has committed close to $5 billion in sports rights investment in the last two years on properties like IPL, ICC, and Cricket Australia.