Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) has added two Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) tournaments to its portfolio with the acquisition of UEFA Euro 2020 and the soon to be launched UEFA Nations League. With this, the broadcaster now has the rights to eight premier international football properties subcontinent including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, LaLiga, Serie A, UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup. The tournaments will be available on television through the network’s sports bouquet and on digital through its OTT platform Sony Liv.
Football has seen a massive growth in the past few years in the country, with over 500 million viewers sampling the sport in FY 2017-18. It is currently among the top three sports in the country in along with cricket and kabaddi. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia saw a total cumulative reach of 254 million viewers on SPN (live and non-live content).
“We have maintained that we intend to be the home of football in the country, and with the acquisition of these two properties, we are a step closer to realising that goal. With the viewership on FIFA, we are encouraged that there is appetite international football,” says Rajesh Kaul, chief revenue officer – distribution and head – sports, SPN.
The network experimented with language commentary during the recently concluded FIFA World Cup which found significant acceptance in regional markets like West Bengal and Kerala. SPN intends to continue with the same strategy for Euro 2020, but will take a call on the commentary languages for the Nations League in the coming days.
The UEFA Nations League has been created for the 55-member nations of UEFA, the European governing body of football. This will largely replace international friendlies in Europe. The inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League is set to kick off this week and includes 2018 FIFA World Cup Champions France along with Croatia, Belgium, Germany, England, Spain, Portugal and more. The group fixtures for the League of Nations will be played over six match days between September and November of 2018, with the finals set for June 2019. European teams dominated the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and these teams will be now battle again in the UEFA Nations League as we head towards the UEFA EURO 2020. The first week features France v Germany, England v Spain and Portugal v Italy.