Sony to broadcast FIFA World Cup finals in four languages

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Come June 14, Sony Ten and SonyLiv will be the destinations for the sports lovers in India as the FIFA World Cup finals will catch the imagination of the nation.

Sony Pictures India Network, the official broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup finals in the Indian sub-continent, has made extensive plans for football world’s showcase event – being staged in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018. Sony has acquired the broadcast rights for FIFA’s international events for the 2014-2019 five-year cycle in an approximate $90 million deal.

With 30 days to go for the biggest sporting extravaganza, the Sports cluster of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has unveiled the ‘Meri Doosri Country’ campaign, as it gets set to enthral viewers with the live telecast of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The campaign was launched in the presence of India’s football icon and former National Football team captain, Bhaichung Bhutia.

As seen from FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, football continues to grow by leaps and bounds in India and is the second most viewed sport in the country after cricket. While football viewership is already high in India, FIFA led events tend to enjoy an increased viewership due to their enormous popularity. The FIFA World Cup is one of the few sporting events that draws in both fans and fringe-viewers to root for their favourite countries, which temporarily become their ‘Doosri Country”.

The #MeriDoosriCountry campaign film has been inspired by countless Indian fans who exhibit their undying passion by adopting their favourite football team once every four years during the World Cup. The film showcases snapshots of fans cheering and flaunting their support for ‘#MeriDoosriCountry’ by wearing the team jerseys, waving their team flags and even painting their faces with their team colours.

The campaign will entail a 360-degree approach, including Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies.

It will also be spread across TV, digital, print, and radio and will be telecast in four languages: English, Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam. The world feed in English will be on SONY TEN 2 SD & HD channels, the Hindi feed will be aired on SONY TEN 3 SD & HD channels while Bengali and Malayalam feed will be available on SONY ESPN SD channel. Adding to this, a fantastic line-up of renowned international football panelists will hone in on their knowledge and insights to enhance the viewing experience.

Rajesh Kaul, President, Sports & Distribution, Sony Pictures Networks India said: “Sony Pictures Network has been associated with FIFA, one of the most prestigious sporting bodies in the world, since the last World Cup in 2014. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is definitely one the biggest and most exciting sporting events this year, and we are extremely proud to bring it to the football fans across the Indian subcontinent.”

“Our campaign #MeriDoosriCountry, captures the ethos of how Indian football fans root for their favourite country as if it’s their own. With multiple language feeds and unique programming initiatives, we are committed to giving our audience a truly holistic 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia experience.”

Bhaichung Bhutia, Former star striker of the Indian Football team said: “The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is one the most awaited tournaments for all of us and I am excited to show my support for the #MeriDoosriCountry campaign. The film gives Indian audience a sense of belonging to one of the most significant sporting events in the world. While I am confident that we will see our football team in the World Cup one day, Meri Doosri country will be Argentina this year.”

The duration of the master brand campaign is 75 seconds, which highlights the passion and excitement with which Indian fans support their favourite teams at this mega-event. The brand campaign also explains what really happens to the football fans in India when the World Cup kicks in and how we pledge loyalty of another country. The film was shot across the country, especially in football crazy states like Goa, Kerala and West Bengal.

Sony is the exclusive broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup finals in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Reports suggest that the FIFA World Cup finals global TV audience may exceed the Olympics viewers in numbers. The media industry and experts are expecting a global audience of 500 million for football world’s biggest quadrennial event in football.

With the matches scheduled to start between 3:30 PM and 11:30 PM (India time) Sony is also set to create a new benchmark for the FIFA World Cup viewership numbers in the country.

Sony Sports Network’s digital content partner SonyLiv will also live stream the World Cup games in India. The live streaming will be available on SonyLiv website and app.

Amidst the Indian Premier League frenzy, the FIFA World Cup broadcaster is also launching an extensive campaign to intensify the football fever among the Indian sports lovers.