MSM to acquire telecast rights of Italian Serie A?

MUMBAI: Italy’s premier football championship Serie A, which was jointly aired by Star India’s Star Sports and Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ Ten Sports so far, is all set to change airwaves in India.


Sources close to the development tell that the asset is no longer associated with Star Sports and Ten Sports and will most definitely be on another network. Pertinent to note here is that while Star acquired the broadcasting rights of German Bundesliga earlier this year, it also has the English Premier League, Football Association Cup and La Liga (Spain) in its plump kitty. Besides the international assets, Star also owns the broadcasting rights of the burgeoning home-made Indian Super League (ISL).


On the other hand, Ten Sports has the rights to UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, which are both continental based football championship featuring top ranked teams of leagues across Europe.


It may be recalled that Multi Screen Media (MSM) recently launched Sony Kix - a paid sports channel and has been looking to acquire quality content. While the company has the broadcasting rights of the FIFA World Cup and Euro Qualifiers, it is currently relaying Copa America. Moreover, in the recent past, the broadcaster also aired the Africa Cup of Nations. The missing feather in MSM’s kitty is quality club football.


During a recent interaction with this website, MSM CEO NP Singh had said, “Football is garnering huge viewership in India. Whenever and wherever there are opportunities to acquire any other football properties, we will aggressively go for it. We are working to settle a deal, which we will be able to announce in a couple of months.”


Given the scenario, it is most likely that Serie A will soon be reaching viewers through MSM’s sports channels. However, when contacted to confirm the news, MSM officials refrained from giving a statement.


Sony Six registered high viewership last year courtesy to FIFA World Cup, India’s tour of New Zealand. What’s more, 2015 has also been action packed so far. Serie A has many renowned players and league champion Juventus made substantial mark in European Level too as they played the final in Berlin against Spanish La Liga champion Barcelona. The league did not manage to garner high viewership in the past, since no serious coverage was done and it was often suppressed by other leagues. However, if the league is telecast by Sony Six and Kix, it will get special treatment as the tourney will be the only club league is MSM’s kitty.


Football in India is opening avenues for advertisers and there are huge revenue generating possibilities that the sport offers broadcasters. A senior sports media planner opines, “We have seen pop-up banners in the bottom of the screen during EPL matches, so this can be one mode of advertising for broadcasters to look out for. Italian SerieA won’t be as popular as EPL but a Milan Derby or a match involving Juventus is certain to get eyeballs. Viewership also depends on the treatment given by broadcaster. If planned properly, it can be beneficial for the broadcaster that pockets the rights.”


It now remains to be seen if indeed MSM seals the deal and whether Sony Six and Kix become the new screens for Serie A lovers in India.

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