Home / Sports / Sports News /  Sony Pictures Networks signs multi-year deal to broadcast Ultimate Kho Kho

New Delhi: To expand its non-cricketing sports portfolio, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has signed a multi-year television and digital broadcast deal with Ultimate Kho Kho.

The broadcast network said it will bring forth the homegrown sport in a new avatar using sports technology and innovation to engage with fans across SPNI’s network sports channels and over-the-top (OTT) video platform SonyLIV. The league is expected to be telecast in the prime time slot (7 to 9 pm) in English and Hindi and will also be streamed on SonyLIV. Regional language commentary is also on the cards.

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“At Sony Pictures Networks, our focus has always been to promote a multi-sport culture in India and Ultimate Kho Kho is a great addition to our sports portfolio. It is an extremely popular traditional Indian sport popular across India and we are happy to be on-board and showcase Ultimate Kho Kho to our viewers," said Rajesh Kaul, chief revenue officer, distribution and head - sports business, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

With four dedicated sports channels of the network, Ultimate Kho Kho will become a part of Sony's existing non-cricketing sports portfolio which includes football, wrestling and tennis properties comprising WWE, UFC, Impact Wrestling, Australian Open, UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Nations League & Euro 2020, Serie A, FA Cup and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 among others.

Inspired by existing homegrown professional leagues such as Pro Kabbadi League (PKL) and Indian Super League (ISL), Ultimate Kho Kho was founded by Dabur's Amit Burman who had acquired long-term commercial rights from the Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) in 2019. Postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the first edition of the homegrown indigenous league will be held in the second half of 2021.

“Ultimate Kho Kho will bring back the oldest sport packaged in a modern avatar coupled with a new format and a television product that has the potential to not only revolutionize the sport but also create a unique experience for the audience," said Amit Burman, Dabur Group chairman and promoter of the Ultimate Kho Kho.

The league will announce its six team franchises through player drafts in four weeks. The teams will consist of men and under-18 players from all states across India registered under Kho Kho Federation of India. Franchise-owners will be offered a bank of over 150 Indian players which they can pick based on their performance and score in national and recently concluded performance training camp held in February.

"We have already on-boarded four out of six teams. For remaining two teams we are already in talks with eight private entities which include private equity (PE) firms from US. Post that, central sponsorship (title, presenting and associate) will happen close to July to August. We are in early-stage discussions with big brands in mass consumption categories including smartphone makers, tyre manufacturers, automobiles and phone wallets on different ways of associating with the league," said Tenzing Niyogi, chief executive officer, Ultimate Kho Kho.

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