Sony secures rights to New Zealand cricket home series

The long-term agreement, which will be effective from May 1, 2024 to April 30, 2031, will cover broadcast and digital-streaming rights of all bilateral ties in the island nation, including India’s tours of New Zealand during 2026-27 and 2030. 31 seasons

Sony secures rights


Mumbai: After plans to merge with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd were revealed, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has been quietly taking steps to strengthen its sports content offering. In a strategic move, SPNI has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast and stream all New Zealand Cricket (NZC) domestic series in India and associated territories for the next seven years, including men’s (Blackcaps) as well as women’s (Whitecaps) Ferns) matches are also included. ,

The long-term agreement, which will be effective from May 1, 2024 to April 30, 2031, will cover broadcast and digital-streaming rights of all bilateral ties in the island nation, including India’s tours of New Zealand during 2026-27 and 2030. 31 seasons. The deal also includes bilateral Test matches, One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) held in New Zealand during the contract period.

After losing out to rivals Viacom18 and Disney Star in the auction for expensive assets like the Indian Premier League (IPL), the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Indian Premier League (BCCI), SPNI is buying assets to create an all-sport franchise. Offering, at a steady pace.

“It is our continued endeavor to add iconic properties and we want to ensure that we have a strong but profitable sports business,” said Rajesh Kaul, SPNI’s chief revenue officer-distribution and international trade and core-sports business. “We have added UEFA Euro.” And now we have the authority of one of the top four cricket boards. For most Indians, New Zealand is the second most favorite team.”

Recently, SPNI had renewed the rights to UEFA Euro 2024, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, UEFA Nations League, European Qualifiers, UEFA Youth League and International Friendlies.

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Between UEFA, Bundesliga, FA Cup, Saudi Pro League, Durand Cup and the DFB Pokal (German Cup), SPNI will live broadcast and stream more than 1,000 football matches every year. It also holds the rights to three of the four tennis Grand Slams—the Australian Open, the French Open (Roland Garros) and the US Open. In contact sports, it holds the rights to WWE and UFC, while two Indian sports leagues—Prime Volleyball League and Ultimate Kho Kho—also have a place in SPNI.

The latest acquisition of NZC Board rights will strengthen its existing portfolio, which currently includes the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Scott Weenink stressed the importance of this partnership in expanding the reach of NZC. “India is an important market for us. Obviously, it is the largest cricket market in the world, and also one of the biggest markets in sports. Therefore, it is very important for New Zealand to ensure that our games are being broadcast in India,” he said.

When India will be playing against NZC teams in New Zealand, the games will start later than usual to ensure that they are convenient for spectators in India. This is part of the agreement with Sony, Weenink said. With the agreement covering both linear and digital platforms, NZC expects to drive significant fan engagement while taking advantage of adjusted match times to accommodate the Indian audience.

“We expect [the deal] to drive significant fan engagement… Indian Test matches will start at 11:30am New Zealand time… to help support the Indian time zone.”

SPNI’s digital rights in India will be co-exclusive with Amazon Prime for the 2024–25 and 2025–26 seasons, as NZC signed a six-year deal with the streamer for the Indian subcontinent in 2020.

David White, then NZC chief executive, noted that the Amazon deal was “the most significant” and “huge” at a time when technology was transitioning from linear to streaming.

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However, Weenink told Mint, “We have made a deal with Amazon for digital rights till 2025-26, but it is only half of the market or less than half the market because linear TV is still largely unheard of in India.” But it is. So it is very important for us now to be able to broadcast our games and do both linear and digital television. “And we hope this will drive significant fan engagement.”

Although the financial details of the agreement are unknown, Weenink underlined its importance for NZC, and emphasized the growth opportunities for cricket boards, broadcasters and sponsors.

Kaul mentioned that the broadcaster is going to build the property once again in collaboration with NZC. “We plan to interact with fans in addition to the innovative marketing we are known for. We will have 3-4 language feeds for non-India cricket as well,” he said.

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