Sony Pictures Networks opts for on-ground promotion for Australian Open 2020

It mulls to go big for upcoming international sporting events such as Euro Cup, Olympics 2020

MUMBAI: Massification being the end objective, Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) is planning to go big in promoting the prominent sporting events that will take place this year. Moreover, the broadcaster also revealed the new on-ground campaign initiatives to promote the first grand slam of the year to Indian masses.

Sony Pictures Networks India head - marketing and on-air promotions for sports channels Neville Bastawalla, speaking exclusively to, said: “Since 2019, we have embarked on the strategy of promoting niche sports in India and to get a larger share of the heart of consumers.”

Commencing the year with the Australian Open, which is the most-watched tennis event in India and Asia, Sony has planned two on-ground campaigns in association with ‘Social’ – an urban hangout place and Inox - the largest multiplex chain in India.

Bastwalla, explaining the on-ground campaign, said, “We have partnered with 23-25 outlets of Social across five cities in India to broadcast live matches of the Australian Open with a co-curated menu for Australia-inspired dishes.”

Adding further he said, “We are also mulling whether to telecast live semis and final or only final at particular theatres, wherein we’ll get four to five Hindi medium school children to experience the match. We will also have chat sessions by known celebrities, who will talk about tennis and make students aware of the game as many of them doesn’t know what tennis is all about.”

The broadcaster is yet to strategise the campaign for the semis and final. However, it has roped in Lenovo, Australia Tourism, Life Insurance Corporation among others as brands onboard for the grand slam. It is expected that more brands will come onboard as the game progresses towards its final stage.

For the first time ever, to get more audience traction, the broadcaster will have semi and final matches in Hindi commentary. Last year, the Australian Open had garnered around 41 million viewership compared to 13 million by the following grand slam making up around 30 per cent of overall viewership.

Meanwhile, 2020 is a power-packed year. The broadcaster is fully loaded with a line-up of international sporting events such as Euro Cup 2020 and Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Championship round of 16, and Wrestle mania – termed as the world cup of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – among others.

Meanwhile, to promote the agenda of massification and connect the Indian audiences with niche sports, the broadcaster is also getting Bollywood celebrities to talk about ancillary sports. Last year, SPN had roped actor-director Farhan Akhtar to bat for UEFA Championship in Madrid and actor Varun Dhawan for Ultimate Fighting Championship’s match in Abu Dhabi.

Bastawalla also said: “Cricket in India is the most-watched sporting event followed by WWE in sports entertainment section. Everything else is at a similar level barring marquee properties like FIFA and Euro Cup which have both mass and class – mass in terms of reach and it’s a very classy premium event.”

Citing an example, the marketing head said, “If cricket is at 100 points on the pie chart in India, every other sport in India is at 10 points and our aim is to increase that point to 20-25 points.”

Being strong on social media at 6 million reaches across platforms, the broadcaster is constantly using digital marketing methods to promote various sports along with traditional marketing.

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