Sony adds ECB rights to international cricket portfolio

Media group Sony Pictures Networks India has acquired rights in the Indian subcontinent to national team games hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The five-year deal runs from 2018 to 2022, including three tours by the Indian national team during this time, commencing with this summer’s series.

The ECB’s rights package was previously held by pay-television broadcaster Star India. Sony has now added the ECB to its portfolio of international cricket rights, which also includes contracts with the national boards of Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Sony has secured television and digital rights within the Indian subcontinent to men’s and women’s international matches – a package that will comprise more than 80 games.

Rajesh Kaul, president of sports and distribution business at SPN, said, according to Indian newspaper the Business Standard: “It’s a prestigious board to have and it helps us sustain a robust sports calendar throughout the year.

“We have almost 1,000 days of cricket over the next four odd years and that is an exciting proposition for advertisers as well. It also reduces our dependence on the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) media rights. A stronger cricket and overall sports portfolio, will also help with ad-sales and distribution.”

The BCCI last month launched a tender process for broadcast and digital media rights to all international and domestic matches played in the country, with contracts set to be awarded via an online auction process.

The BCCI is marketing rights for a five-year period commencing April 1, 2018. Star India currently has the contract having paid Rs38.51bn (€492m/$602m) for broadcast, online and mobile rights to Indian cricket.

The tender covers all international matches staged by the BCCI in India and domestic tournaments including the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup.