MUMBAI (Reuters): Adding the rights to broadcast cricket in England and Australia across the subcontinent gave Sony Pictures Networks a dominant position in the sport but winning the rights to India would give it a monopoly, a senior company executive has told Reuters.
India’s huge market is a major draw for sponsors and advertisers, who often plan product launches around major cricket events and book advertising slots in advance, which in turn leads to a race between broadcasters to secure content.
Star India paid $757.6 million for the rights to broadcast India’s home matches for the period July 2012 to March 2018. Those rights will be up for grabs on March 27 and could see another round of frenzied bidding from the two major players in the Indian market.
SPN, owned by Sony Corp, lost out to Star India for the Indian Premier League rights last year but have since won the license to broadcast Australian and English cricket in the subcontinent, taking their tally to seven test playing nations. “The whole idea was to strengthen our overall leadership position,” Rajesh Kaul, the president of SPN’s Sports and Distribution Business, told Reuters in an interview.
“ECB was a very important and integral part of the strategy. While Australian cricket happens during the winter here, cricket in England is during the summer.