Television

Super Fight League will have niche audience: SPNI

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MUMBAI: India’s first mixed martial arts promotion, Super Fight League, is being promoted by the British business magnate and sports enthusiast Bill Dosanjh and the British professional boxing sensation and two-time world champion Amir Khan.

SFL announced Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) as the official broadcast partner for the first-ever MMA league to be hosted in India from 20 January – 25 February 2017. The fights will be broadcast live on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD channels while the opening ceremony will be shown live on Sony MAX.

Dosanjh said, “Sony ESPN is the channel that is synonymous for bringing MMA to the television sets of the Indian audience. We at Super Fight League are really excited about Sony Pictures Networks India coming on board as the broadcast partners for the inaugural edition of the league. Having Sony as the broadcast partner will help us in our endeavor to reach the maximum variety of audience and make Super Fight League a household name for MMA in India.”

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Talking to indiantelevision.com, a high-placed source said that marketing strategies were being worked out, and would be in place soon. It’s an experiment which needs time and space to make its presence felt in the niche.

About Sony Pictures’ views on the Super Fight League, the source added, “We’ve seen how WWE and Wrestling leagues have done well, how Vijender and his boxing bouts are getting good traction and we’ve also seen how MMA on our channels have been working well and there seems to be a good niche for it.”

SPNI president, distribution and sports business Rajesh Kaul said, “Having been a forerunner in popularizing MMA, the sports cluster of Sony Pictures Networks India is the premier destination for viewing mixed martial arts. We are pleased to announce the expansion of our MMA portfolio with the addition of the Super Fight League which is India’s first mixed martial arts league on our network.”

As to whether we will see pay-per-view mode of payment in the Super Fight League, on OTT or broadcasting platform, the source added, “We’ve set up a new product and need to make it successful before we get into the various payment modes. The league is still at the embryonic stage and it needs time to grow to have a dedicated audience.”

The franchisee-based league will feature eight teams, and is being organised in association with the All-India Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA). It will commence with the opening ceremony on 20 January 2017 which will be broadcast on Sony MAX. SPN also has the broadcast rights for the league across Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Maldives.

The fights in the league will be held over Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will be broadcast from 7-9 PM over the weekend and can also be streamed live on SonyLIV.

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