MUMBAI: With India’s home Test series against South Africa kicking off next week, Neo Sports, which owns the rights to cricket played in India, is looking to boost the viewer experience through several new shows. In all, the channel will launch nine shows and the aim is to provide something for everyone.
Speaking about this, Neo Sports programming head Maulik Tolia says, “After a lot of research, we have found that there is a huge appetite for cricket that goes beyond the live matches. That is not surprising when you consider that cricket is part of India’s socio-cultural fabric. Keeping this in mind, we will launch nine shows, which encapsulate the spirit of the game.”
One of the shows is Dial C for Cricket, which will be hosted by Manish Valicha. The show kicks off on 24 March and airs from Monday to Saturday at 10 pm. Viewers can call in to discuss the various aspects of the game, player and team performance match conditions, etc. Special guests will be in the studio to field calls.
Sports Zone will air daily at 7:30 pm. Hosted by Neha Sarin, it is for fans who want to know what is happening in the world of sport.
Vineet Malhotra hosts Baat Aur Bowl which looks at the life and times of a cricketer. It seeks to give viewers an understanding of the person behind the icon. So, for instance, one could find out why Ramesh Powar wears red sunglasses on one day and metallic ones the next. Malhotra adds that the aim of this show is to entertain and inspire.
Archana Vijaya anchors Tour Diary. This is positioned as being a fun, travelogue show that gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the teams and venues. She also does candid interview with the stars.
Targeted at the cricket connoisseur, Encounter will be for people who are interested in classic matches. The show will talk to players who took part in classic encounters to get their reactions to it and what made he matches so special. The matches will be treated like stories with a beginning and an end, and twists and turns in between.
Ballebaaz, as the name suggests, focuses on great knocks by Indian batsmen. On a lighter note, Cricket Tadka Marke adds spice to the sport. This looks at fans, gossip surrounding cricketers, and other trivia. The link between cricket and Bollywood will also be looked at here.