Sony Six to showcase Super Bowl live

MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media’s sports broadcaster Sony Six has signed a four year deal to broadcast Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). 

For the first time the flagship event will be telecast in India on 2 February 2015 when New England Patriots takes on defending champions Seattle Seahawks. 

Speaking about the acquisition, Sony Six business head Prasana Krishnan said, “It is the greatest one day event in the world, and I am intriguingly surprised that it has never been telecast in India. It is a diverse country with versatile interest and it was important to bring it for Indians.”

The game was created as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival league, the American Football League (AFL). It was agreed that the two leagues' champion teams would play in the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was to officially begin in 1970.

But the matter of concern is the timing as the match will start at 4.30 am IST. When questioned about the odd timings, Krishnan said, “We will have prime time repeats and moreover, over last one and half years we developed a habit on breakfast viewership with NBA and other captivating sport. During Super Bowl an ad slot costs more than four and half million dollars and huge stars perform in the intervals. Superstars like Michael Jakson, Maddona performed in previous editions and this year we will see youth sensation Katy Perry performing during the intervals. Hence odd timings cannot be a reason to not go for a event of such magnitude.”  

The day on which the Super Bowl is played, now considered by some an unofficial American national holiday, is called "Super Bowl Sunday". It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most watched American television broadcast of the year; the four most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history is Super Bowls.

In 2014, Super Bowl became the most-watched American television programme in history with an average audience of 111.5 million viewers the fourth time in five years the game had set a record, starting with the 2010 Super Bowl, which itself had taken over the number-one spot held for 27 years by the final episode of M*A*S*H. The Super Bowl is also among the most-watched sporting events in the world, almost all audiences being North American, and is third to soccer's UEFA Champions League final and El Clasico in Spain, as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.

“40 per cent of America’s population watched the game last year and this year the viewership is expected to increase by a huge margin. The one day event is a festival of commercials we see special ads made by brands to broadcast during the flagship event, also Hollywood uses Super Bowl as platform to launch trailers or teasers of big budget movies” said Krishnan. 

When queried about the commercial interest and expectations of Sony Six while broadcasting this event, he said, “This year we are not concentrating at the commercial aspect, we may make it ad free broadcasting or we will restrict to very limited commercials our main motto this year is to popularize the sport.”

Because of the high viewership, commercial airtime is most expensive during the Super Bowl broadcast and giant companies regularly develop their most expensive advertisements for this broadcast. As a result, watching and discussing the broadcast's commercials has become a significant aspect of the event.

Sony Six started the year by acquiring rights of Australian Open tennis and Africa Cup of Nations football, and now they roped it Super Bowl.  

Talking about Sony’s plan for the year Krishnan said, “Sony Six is clear with its stand, we want to get in the pinnacle of all sports in our channel. We have football world cup the biggest tournament of the sport, most expensive cricket league in IPL, grand slam tennis, and now the Super Bowl. And moreover though we have Pepsi IPL we are the least dependent in cricket if compared to other sport channels and we still have the highest viewership. So people are accepting the strategy of versatility.”

"We have quality content in our schedule for next three years, but whenever we get opportunity to add any sport of international importance we will try to catch on," he added.

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