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The Cricket World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events this year. Host nation England start the tournament as favorites, but India is hoping to not only take home the trophy, but a big share of the returns.
Ten countries will play each other in a round-robin format, with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals. The sport's biggest names including India's Virat Kohli, England's Joe Root, and the West Indies' Chris Gayle will be stepping out into the middle in the hope of World Cup glory.
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) global broadcast partner for the Cricket World Cup is Disney-owned Indian network Star Sports. Through its subsidiary, Star TV, it broadcasts primarily to India, but also Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Star's distribution efforts ensure that live coverage of ICC events is made available to a potential TV and digital audience of more than 1.5 billion people, helped by its own Hotstar service. Star Sports is reportedly on course to meet its target of $143 million in revenue for cricket's biggest multinational competition.
The ICC has also signed up more than 20 brands as commercial partners for the World Cup in England and Wales. Almost a third of them come from India and include MRF Tyres, beer brand Bira 91 and food company Britannia Industries.
The broadcast and sponsor revenues go to the ICC, and the publications and ticket revenues go to the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who have also pledged to put the money back into the game — to schools and clubs, and into the tournament itself. Meanwhile, all the revenue from hospitality, food, drink, and car parking goes to the match venue.
Demand for tickets has been high, with more than 3 million applicants for just over 650,000 match tickets. Arguably the most sought-after ticket of the entire tournament has been for India's meeting with Pakistan at Manchester's Old Trafford ground on June 16, with resale sites selling tickets from anywhere between $600 to $3,700.
The rivals' last meeting was the final of the Champions Trophy, also held in England in 2017, and attracted a worldwide TV audience of nearly half a billion people. On that occasion, Pakistan upset the odds and claimed the victory.
Start times are also favorable for an Indian TV audience with matches beginning at either 10.30 a.m. or 1.30 p.m. U.K. time. That will mean they would be reaching their climax during Indian prime time at either late afternoon or late evening.
Cricket's popularity has been growing across its three main formats. The ICC has 104 registered nations as official members playing the game, with several team competitions taking place around the world.
Cricket's current shortest format is called Twenty20 and India is also host to its most valuable brand. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is an annual six-week competition estimated to be worth $6.3 billion in 2018, which was up from $5.3 billion in 2017.
"Star India's broadcasting rights deal was a game changer that put IPL on par with some of the biggest sporting leagues in the world (on a fee per match basis)," Varun Gupta, managing director, Duff & Phelps, said in a statement Tuesday.
Despite only being in existence for just over a decade the IPL has already surpassed more established sports sponsorship revenues. In 2018, it managed almost $1.5 billion, compared to other sporting events such as Major League Baseball for example that only generated $938 million from sponsors.