Sony Six bags broadcasting rights to India vs Sri Lanka 2015 test series

MUMBAI: In a US $ 3.2 million deal, Multi Screen Media's (MSM) sports venture Sony Six has acquired the rights of India vs Sri Lanka three test match series. The series to be held in Sri Lanka, will take place between 12 August, 2015 and 1 September, 2015.

This 20-day tour includes three test matches to be held in the cities of Galle, Colombo and Kandy and will be shown live and exclusive on Sony Six.

Sony Six and Sony Kix business head Prasana Krishnan said, ''We are delighted to partner Sri Lanka Cricket Board as the official broadcaster of the series. The fixture between the two Asian giants is one of the most sought after and keenly followed contests in cricket and we are proud to be bringing it live to our viewers. And it will be interesting to watch how the Indian squad fares under Virat's aggressive style of leadership.''

Sri Lanka Cricket chairman Sidath Wettimuny added, ''Sony Six has established itself as one of the most exciting sports channels in the industry and we are thrilled to be associated with them for this test series. The channel's track record in showcasing premier sporting properties further cemented our decision in making them our broadcaster partner in bringing the high-quality sporting action. Through this deal, we believe we will be able to expand and reach out to a wider and newer audience.''

It can be noted that the broadcasting rights for the Sri Lanka Cricket Board are with Essel Group's sports arm Ten Sports. However, this series is a back up for the curtailed West Indies vs India series which ended mid way due to organisational differences between West Indies players and their cricket board. Subsequently, as the series was not a part of the calendar initially, it was not a part of the official broadcasting deal between Sri Lanka Cricket Board and Ten Sports.

With the rights of the test series going to Sony Six, several reports linked it to the alleged differences between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra. Clarifying the networks stand, Ten Sports CEO Rajesh Sethi told, ''Firstly, this has nothing to do with BCCI- Subhash Chandra relationship and we have a very cordial relationship with the Sri Lanka Cricket Board as well.''

He further added, ''This series was not a part of the deal and hence separate bidding took place, which is absolutely normal and technical. We also did bid for the series but we have to understand that it is a three test match series, with no ODIs or T20 matches and hence going ballistic was not our strategy. If it was a full-fledged series with Test, ODIs and T20s, we would have aggressively pushed for it.''

According to Sethi, the duration and format of the series does not allow the broadcaster to monetize the property well. Besides, the weather under which the test series will be played will have an impact on the broadcaster. Paramount possibilities of rain enhance the chance of interruptions and that's something which will be on advertisers mind too.

The series is highly important as Team India will go all guns blazing to write off the critics and restore fans’ faith after its debacle in Bangladesh. It should also prove to be one of the most vital one for Virat Kohli as he captains the India squad in what will be his first ever complete test series. Not just that, legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara will bid adieu to the world of cricket after the series. So competition, agony, history and team spirit can make the series an exquisite experience for the cricket lovers.

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