Mumbai: Sony SIX, the sports and entertainment channel from the Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSML) stable, has won the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FIFA’s international events for a period of five years in the Indian subcontinent.
This includes broadcast rights for the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup tournaments, as well as the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017, to be hosted by India, the company said on Wednesday.
“Considering the rise of youth interest in the sport, football fans in India can look forward to the best international football experience on SIX,” said N.P. Singh, chief executive officer of MSML, in a statement.
According to the statement, the 2014 FIFA World Cup schedule in Brazil was officially confirmed after the groups were drawn on 6 December. The tournament will be played in two stages; the group stage will feature 32 nations and will be played from the 12 June to 26 June. The knockout stage will start from 28 June and conclude with the final on 13 July.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia from 8 June to 8 July.
Sony SIX has broadcast rights to several sporting properties, which include the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, UEFA EURO 2016, Qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2016 and the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“It (the FIFA World Cup) is a marquee property not just internationally but also in India. In 2008 when the Indian cricket team made an early exit, the ratings for the FIFA World Cup were comparable, if not better than the ratings for the Cricket World Cup,” said Indranil Das Blah, chief operating officer, Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd. “That shocked a lot of people and it showed how football viewership had grown in India.”
While the late timings of the matches may have an impact on television ratings and would prove to be a challenge for the broadcaster, Sony SIX is bound to gain from the association with a premium sporting property, Blah added.
According to industry estimates the FIFA World Cup 2014 is expected to rake in revenues of approximately Rs100 crore for MSML.
According to a person close to the development, the five–year broadcast rights to the FIFA events were bought for approximately $90 million by MSML. The person didn’t want to be named because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media. The figure couldn’t be independently confirmed by Mint.
“India already has a great passion for football and with the support of Sony SIX, FIFA looks forward to inspiring more fans of football and young players in India for the years ahead,” said Niclas Ericson, FIFA’s director of TV.
Rival broadcast network Star India had won the rights for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. The rights, according to news reports, were bought for approximately $40million.
“Popularity of football is growing in the country and with India bagging the rights to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 the interest levels are only going to go up,” said Prasana Krishnan, executive vice-president and business head, Sony SIX.