IPL is gone from Sony to Star, the transition is full of turbulence for Sony Pictures Sports Network. It is a loss of a property that served as the foundation to transform in a decade’s time the then entertainment genre platform’s enterprising foray into sports to a bouquet of 11 niche channels dedicated to sports.
Sony’s big failure on Monday becomes Star’s major gain. The INR 16,347.5 crore bid has established a virtual monopoly for Star India in cricket broadcast. There being no considerable competition may spell a doom for the rivals. At the receiving end is Sony, whose INR 11,050 crore commitment for the Indian television broadcast rights for IPL, failed to stand Star’s strategy of going for all on the table.
Sony stands beaten, knocked off in the biggest battle of sports broadcast in India. But, all is not lost. Bigger plans sail through the turbulence. Big enough has emerged Sony Sports on the strength of its Sony Six, Sony ESPN and Sony Ten channel network with enough in hand to sail through the next big opportunity.
THE NEXT BIG OPPORTUNITY
If IPL is lost to Star, gaining BCCI rights for Team India’s home matches and the Indian domestic cricketer will be the clincher. SONY will go full throttle to bag the rights to make up for the IPL loss. Star holds the BCCI rights till March 2018. Per match at present rates costs around INR 42 crores. The bid process will start in next few months. A successful bid will give SONY a fair chance to stand in contention with STAR and also complete it’s kit with strong cricket content.
An advantage in terms of monetary cushion will be crucial for Sony. The broadcaster will have deeper pockets then in comparison to STAR, which has already pushed itself to the limits for the IPL rights.
ENOUGH CONTENT TO STAY AFLOAT
The jackpot is lost, but Sony still has enough in its kitty to keep its 11 sports network channels going. After acquisition of TEN SPORTS, Sony already has a strong line-up of sports content including media rights of 5 cricket boards, FIFA WC 2018, FIFA U-17 WC, WWE, Asian and Commonwealth Games, LA LIGA, UEFA Champions League and Australian Open. Though all these properties only contribute 25%-30% of the revenue which SONY was generating with IPL.
Now, it will be interesting to see how SONY will work on its strategy to stay among the big players in sports genre in India. As IPL alone cannot determine the end of sports viewership in India, SONY’s think tank must have overcome the rude jolt it received on Monday and will be ready with it’s strategies to bounce back.