La Liga’s loss has been a major gain for Serie A in India. The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved from Spanish First Division club Real Madrid to Juventus in Italy, has made Serie A hot broadcast property for Indian television.
Sony Pictures Network India, the official and exclusive broadcaster for the Italian First Division League in India, has from this season become pro-active with the Serie A promotions. Until a year ago, the league was on the lowest pedestal of SPN’s priority to promote and leverage top-flight global football leagues broadcast. Spanish LaLiga topped the chart, followed by the Premier League.
A better deal for Serie A was on the card after Sony Sports Cluster had lost its premier football asset LaLiga to Facebook. The broadcaster though has regained broadcast rights for select LaLiga matches in a content-sharing deal with Facebook, Serie A has not lost its charm. Cristiano Ronaldo is the prime factor for this premium the broadcaster is putting on the Italian First Division football competition.
Sony Pictures Network India had acquired the rights to broadcast Serie A in India in a three-season deal from 2015-16 to 2017-18 for approximately $ 500,000 – the lowest Indian television media rights deals for European league football.
The league which invoked little interest from Sony beyond customary broadcast for the first two seasons has turned out to be a valuable property for the broadcaster.
“LaLiga loss to Facebook would have potentially created a big hole in Sony’s football rights basket. Initially, Serie A was one option to do some damage control. Few would have expected or foreseen Ronaldo’s impactful move to Juventus, worthy of putting a considerable premium on Serie A commercial values. That is one major factor that Sony this time is also investing to promote the Italian top division league, which otherwise invoked little interest,” says sports business veteran and Sporty Solytionz Chief Executive Ashish Chadha.
Juventus-Lazio, Napoli-AC Milan and Inter Milan-Torino are the three games over this weekend, with Ronaldo-led Juventus starting the campaign Lazion tomorrow (Saturday) from 9:30 pm (India time) on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD.
Sony will have to be ready to pay the premium for this new-found status of Serie A. The rights will be up for grabs after this season, and the broadcaster knows it will not more be a $500,000 deal.