MUMBAI: In what may be a sign of things to come, Viacom 18 has struck a deal with DSport to live simulcast the Nidahas Trophy, a tri-nation series tournament featuring India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
DSport, Discovery’s sports channel, had acquired the exclusive India broadcast rights of Nidahas Trophy 2018 last week. In an industry-first initiative, the broadcaster has joined hands with Viacom18 to live telecast the series. While DSport will telecast English commentary, Viacom18-owned mass entertainment channels Rishtey Cineplex and Cineplex HD will feature Hindi commentary for the tournament. Rishtey Cineplex reaches out to maximum number of viewers across any Hindi Movie channel with a reach of 460 Mn+ individual viewers across India (urban and rural) and therefore will add more eyeballs to the international T20 series scheduled to begin on 6 March 2018. Cineplex HD will further add to the enhanced viewer base by taking the tourney to a premium Hindi content consumer base.
Explaining the rationale behind the partnership, Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats said, “Sports broadcasting is a bit of a business conundrum–it represents a sizeable opportunity but the cost of entry tends to be prohibitive. It has been a white space that we have continuously been evaluating and this association with DSPORT to air the NIDAHAS tri series provides us with a fertile testing ground. As we endeavor to test waters with our very first broadcast of an international sporting property, what better than a cricket tri series involving the national team.”
This tri-nation internationalT20 tournament will follow a round robin format with all the three teams playing each other twice, and the top two progressing to the final to be played on 18 March 2018. All the matches will be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
“The future belongs to collaborative broadcasting and this association between Discovery’s DSPORT and Viacom18’s Rishtey Cineplex is a pioneering initiative that seeks to broaden the horizon of sports broadcasting in India,” said Viacom18 COO Raj Nayak. “Cricket is much more than a sport in this country – it is an emotion. With this collaboration, we will be taking this emotion to more than ~460mn additional viewers in India.”
Commenting on the partnership, DSport business head TS Panesar said, “In a first of its kind arrangement we are delighted to partner with Viacom18’s Rishtey Cineplex and Cineplex HD to bring Hindi telecast of the Nidahas Trophy to millions of fans in India. The Nidahas Trophy celebrates 70 years of Sri Lankan Independence and as such holds a special significance and we expect a keenly fought contest between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”