New Delhi: Television broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India has acquired exclusive media rights for men’s and women’s international matches played in England for a period of five years, starting 2018.
In an agreement signed with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the Indian subcontinent, Sony Pictures Networks acquired the rights to both televise and digitally broadcast within the Indian subcontinent, all men’s and women’s international matches, including test matches, T20 internationals and ODIs played in England.
ECB is the national governing body for all the cricket played in England and Wales. The agreement includes more than 80 international men’s and women’s matches including India’s tour of England this summer which involves five test matches, three ODIs and three T20 internationals.
“Today’s announcement means millions of cricket fans across the Indian subcontinent can follow their favourite team in action the next time they tour England—as well as enjoying access to iconic cricketing contests like next year’s Ashes. It will also help further raise the global profile of the English game—giving both the England men’s and women’s teams valuable exposure in a part of the world where people are passionate about cricket and avid followers of the global game as well as their own national team," said Tom Harrison, chief executive officer at ECB, in a statement.
With this acquisition, Sony’s exclusive cricket portfolio includes seven of the major international cricket boards including Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The move comes as a part of Sony’s strategy to focus on international cricket and other sports like football, WWE, golf and tennis, after the broadcaster lost the media rights to its T20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL) to Star India Pvt. Ltd, in September 2017.
“Cricket is a passion for most Indians and this term of ECB games includes three tours of the Indian cricket team which promises some thrilling cricket, the first of these coming close on the heels of the hugely exciting South Africa series. SPN will now be home to almost all international away series giving our fans a one-stop destination to view their favourite stars in action," said N.P. Singh, managing director and chief executive officer at Sony Pictures Networks, in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited bids for the television and digital media rights of all international and domestic cricket matches (currently held by Star India) to be played in India till March 2023. The auction of the media rights will take place on 27 March.