New Delhi: The football World Cup has kicked off a boom in television sales in India, a country that has never participated in the world’s most-watched sports event. TV sales in India, which have been growing at a stable annual pace of 6% a year, have seen a sudden spurt ahead of the World Cup with Sony, Samsung and Xiaomi expecting sales to continue to be brisk throughout the duration of the month-long event, particularly in markets such as West Bengal, Kerala and the Northeast.

Sony Pictures Networks, the official broadcaster in India, expects viewership of the event to cross 100 million. That’s more than the 85.7 million Indians who watched the previous World Cup on television in 2014, according to FIFA estimates.

Sony India Pvt. Ltd said sales of large-screen TVs have doubled in West Bengal, Kerala and the Northeast.

“Sales will also grow substantially in the metro cities including Mumbai and Delhi," said Sachin Rai, business head (Bravia), at Sony India.

The company has introduced a separate campaign to push its new Bravia OLED Television range and plans to spend nearly 8 crore in promotions during the FIFA World Cup.

Panasonic India, the local arm of the Japanese TV maker, said the company has already recorded a 50% sales growth in the past month from a year ago.

“Kolkata, Durgapur and Guwahati are the places where the impact (of FIFA) is very high," said Neeraj Bahl, business head, Panasonic India. Panasonic will spend 5 crore for promotions over 45 days during the World Cup.

Samsung, which is the largest TV company in India with an estimated 30% market share, has launched its new range of QLED TV with screen sizes of 55 inches and 65 inches, backed by a special football World Cup focused campaign.

Besides, TV makers are offering freebies to attract customers. Sudeep Sahu, product manager, MiTV, Xiaomi India, said in an emailed response that the firm was giving a free three-month subscription of Sony LIV to all MiTV users.

Match timings may be another reason why TV may be a natural choice for football fans this season. With the event being held in Russia, Indians will be able to watch most of the matches in the comfort of their homes.

“Smart phones can be the source of the content but there are a lot of people who want to see all that content on a larger screen," said Piyush Kunnapallil, general manager (consumer electronics business), Samsung India.

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