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With 7 cricket boards, our dependence on BCCI has come down: Rajesh Kaul, SPN India

06-March-2018
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With 7 cricket boards, our dependence on BCCI has come down: Rajesh Kaul, SPN India

With the acquisition of England and Wales Cricket Board, Sony Pictures Network’s exclusive cricket portfolio includes seven major international cricket boards, namely, Cricket Australia, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Pakistan Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket, Cricket South Africa, Cricket West Indies and Zimbabwe Cricket Board.

Now the next due is the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) domestic circuit for the 2018-19 season which is to be tendered soon. Star India had the rights for last four years. It seems like a close fight between the two broadcasters.

Speaking to exchange4media about the BCCI Domestic rights, Rajesh Kaul, President - Sales and Distribution, Sony Pictures Sports Networks said, “Those are good rights to have, we will also bid for it. Let's see what happens. Now that we have seven cricket boards, its not a must-have for us now. Our dependence on BCCI has come down.”

On March 5, Sony Pictures Networks India acquired exclusive media rights from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the Indian subcontinent for a period of five years starting in 2018 through 2022.

“Long-term deals helps in everything like planning, monetizing, marketing and we insist for a long-term thing so that we also know what is our strategy for long term. Right now, we have rights for seven cricket boards and we can expect something around 1000 plus live cricket days in 4-5 years time in all the cricket boards we got and 300 live cricket days in the next 13-14 months. We have sort of become a one- stop destination for all the international cricket in the world. It maintains and strengthens our leadership position in the space,” said Kaul.

He further added, “From the broadcast point of view, England test match starts at the prime time which is from 2 pm and goes till 10 in the night. With that perspective, South Africa and England are excellent sports to have in terms of timing for the viewers. Apart from that, other factor are the infrastructure, the stadiums, fans experience, 100 percent attendance. So from a broadcast point of view, its an excellent experience.”

This agreement with ECB gives SPN the rights to both televise and digitally broadcast within the Indian subcontinent, men’s and women’s international matches, including Test matches, T20 Internationals and ODIs, played in England.

“This year is going to be a blockbuster year for us. The big one is the India tour to England and the first one is starting in July itself. It’s a big India’s tour with five test matches, as I said we have the India tour of England in July-September. Before that we have FIFA World Cup which is in Russia and we got the excellent prime time. As the Indian subcontinent is concerned we have Commonwealth games. Also we have Asian games in between. This ECB rights has further strengthened our leadership in sports broadcasting,” informed Kaul.

Speaking about the year gone by, Kaul asserted, “Last year was good for us. We just completed the India vs South Africa tour. In terms of ratings, we were far higher than the earlier series and also we had a busy calendar last year. We had the India tour of Sri Lanka, West Indies. So overall, it has been a good year and the coming year is even better as we have two big India’s cricket series and FIFA World Cup coming up.”

Talking about the recent growing trend in India for non-India cricket matches, he said that the recent trend that they're are seeing is that the top two non-India games are doing well and there is a huge audience for that. “Though you can’t compare them with India matches but there is a big audience for top quality non-India games. The brands are ready to pay and depends on what the premium is. The value is definitely going up and more and more brands are ready to pay for these matches also. It is very encouraging for the sports broadcasters.”

Tags England and Wales Cricket Board Rajesh Kaul Sony Pictures Network India Sony Ten 3

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