Sony Six's Prasana Krishnan upbeat about African Cup Of Nations broadcast

MUMBAI: After generating considerable revenue and viewership with the FIFA World Cup and EURO, Sony Six continues to extend its catalogue of international football and this time it has invaded a new territory.


The channel has added to its kitty the African Cup of Nations, which started in 1957 and comprises 16 nations from the African continent. This will be the first time that the tournament will be aired on Indian television. Speaking to, Sony Six business head Prasana Krishnan said that he was “quite surprised” that an event filled with numerous stars has never been broadcast in India until now.


The tournament kicks off on 17 January, 2015 with a match between the host Nation Equatorial Guinea and Congo. The tournament clashes with all the major club leagues across the globe and certainly raises a question mark if Indian football lovers will miss their favorite club action in order to catch up with the African Cup.


When asked about this, Krishnan said, “We will always have multiple action going on at the same time but it is up to the viewers to decide what they want to follow. International football is always respected and people love to see their stars playing in country colours for their respective nations.”


Many big club managers have started to blame the African Cup of Nations due to their recent failures as the core of many teams took a blow when strong performers were not available for selection. All other major international football events are played during the June - July calendar gap and there is a long term debate going on if AFCON should also be conducted during such a gap. Krishnan explains, “As a broadcaster, I would have certainly loved a gap but I see this scenario in a very positive way. The viewers are already in a football-watching mood as all the action is on and hence we don’t need to put some special efforts to engage their attention. Moreover, managers were well aware that the players will leave during this period to serve their nations and hence they should have no reasons to be upset. The long going debate about calendar gap is FIFA’s prerogative to solve.”


While traditionally, broadcasters acquire sporting events' rights for the long-term, in this case Sony Six has picked up the rights only for 2015. This is an experiment for both the hosting organization and the broadcaster. The viewership numbers and popularity of the aired matches will, in turn, determine whether the association will grow further.


With this acquisition Sony Six aims at establishing itself as a home for international football. Krishnan sees this increased football coverage as a positive move towards improvising the sport in basic level. “The final goal is to see India playing in tournaments with international importance and as we broadcast more of the sport in India, we will see kids following them and someday we may have a strong football team. As far as Sony Six is concerned, we will not only restrict ourselves to international football. Whenever we see an opportunity to acquire club action, we will catch on to it.”


No media or marketing campaign to promote the tournament to viewers is on the cards as of now. "We didn't have too much time to promote the tournament so we are not looking at a specific marketing campaign."


Though the tournament is filled with established stars, one will have to wait and watch how AFCON establishes itself in the midst of action packed Club football.


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