Sony partners ESPN to launch two sports channels in India

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) on Monday announced the launch of two sports channels in partnership with ESPN, which is making a comeback in India.

The two channels, SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD, will go live on January 17.

SPN CEO N P Singh said: "As a network, SPN is focused on becoming the first choice in television and digital entertainment. Our collaboration with ESPN is a targeted step in that direction as it helps us ink another milestone in our growth trajectory."

ESPN Asia Pacific Vice President and General Manager Mike Morrison said: "The launch of these channels and the complimentary digital properties in the months ahead, creates a world-class multi media stage on which the combined expertise and resources of our two companies can deliver amazing content and products to Indian fans."

With the new channels, SPN will expand its offering to four sports channels, including SONY SIX and SONY SIX HD. The programming line up of Sony ESPN channels include UEFA Euro 2016, 2018 Fifa World Cup, La Liga, Australian Open and UFC among others.

On the strategy of partnership towards developing local content, SPN Executive Vice-President & Business Head, Sports Prasana Krishnan said the company will look to develop more India specific properties like the pro-wrestling league which has got good response in North India.

"There is a strong market emerging for local leagues (in India) which we will try to tap besides addressing the audience of global sports here," he added.

Last year in October, SPN formerly Multi Screen Media (MSM) had tied up with global sports broadcaster ESPN. The latter is making a comeback in the Indian subcontinent after exiting the market in 2012 when Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp bought it out from their 50:50 joint venture ESPN Star Sports.

As per the agreement, the broadcasters will offer sports channels under the brand name Sony ESPN along with a multi-sport website and an app, which will provide coverage of cricket, football, tennis, NBA, badminton and hockey among others, MSM said in a statement.

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