Sony Sports Network recently announced the extension of its collaboration with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the governing body of football in Europe.
According to the reports, the broadcaster renewed the deal for around Rs 400 crore. As part of the deal, it has acquired the exclusive media rights for all the UEFA National Team competitions scheduled between 2022-2028 and will showcase the UEFA EURO 2024 & 2028, along with its European Qualifiers and Friendly Matches.
Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer - Distribution & International Business and Head - Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, believes that there is a high affinity in India for international football competitions involving national teams and premium club football which is evident in the exponential growth of football ratings both on the network’s sports channels & SonyLIV.
In a chat with exchange4media, Kaul spoke about Sony Sports Network’s UEFA association, the relevance of football for the network, brand associations with football events and the network’s plans for the Asian Games.
“These major football competitions also help in increasing the fan following of individual players, which eventually positively impacts viewership of these international football properties. Over the years, the UEFA Champions League and European leagues like the Bundesliga have developed a strong following among football core viewers, which we expect to grow even more in the coming years. Average Impressions for the LIVE matches of Euro 2020 were more than 3 times that of Euro 2016 and we are positive that EUFA EURO 2024 will further break viewership records in India next year,” he asserted.
While speaking about the importance of football for the network, Kaul said that the sport has always been a big focus area for the network since the inception of its sports channels.
While football is growing, cricket still continues to dominate the sports space in terms of ad spends and sponsorship. Kaul said that marquee football events like the UEFA EUROs have always attracted brands who want to be associated with premium events.
He shared that during UEFA EURO 2020 they had over 65 brands associated with the network for the tournament across linear and digital platforms.
“European football leagues are also drawing interest now for example UCL continues to attract advertisers, even though matches start late at night in India, who are looking at selling premium products and services targeted especially at the young audiences in Urban markets from categories like Mobile handsets, Automobiles and FMCG (for specific products).”
As part of the six-year deal with the European football association, Sony Sports Network will now showcase over 1300 football matches across its channels. The network will live telecast two editions of UEFA EUROs which is among the top international football events in the world. “We will look to reiterate the success of UEFA EURO 2020 which broke viewership records of previous editions on our sports channels & SonyLIV.”
On the network side, he shared that Sony Sports Network is all set for the Asian Games. “The huge success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have given us a boost for the 2022 Asian Games scheduled to take place this year. We have a robust sports portfolio and have added marquee properties to it over the last year. We have acquired the broadcast rights of Roland Garros and the US Open, becoming home to three out of the four Grand Slams in India. We have also invested in some home-grown leagues like Prime Volleyball League, Ultimate Kho Kho League, and more.”