25 Aug

Indian pay-television broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks has acquired the exclusive global media rights for Sri Lanka Cricket in a three-year deal from 2020 to 2023.

Sony’s deal covers rights on television and digital platforms for 92 days of live cricket, including two tours of Sri Lanka by the India team which will account for the majority of the value of the deal. The deal also includes archival content. It excludes terrestrial, digital and radio rights in Sri Lanka, which have been retained by SLC.

The agreement ends a long-running sales process which saw SLC re-tender the rights several times after being unsatisfied with the offers it received. Bidders in the previous tenders included Lex Sportel Vision, operator of the 1Sports pay-television channel in the Indian subcontinent, and Indian digital sports platform FanCode.

Sony was the previous holder of SLC international rights under a seven-year deal that ran from mid-2013 to March 2020, worth around $60m. Sony also covered production costs of between $13m and $14m over the duration of the deal. Sony used the rights on its own channels in markets where it operated and sold the rights on in other markets.

Tours by the India team are the most valuable elements of most cricket boards’ international media rights. A tour of Sri Lanka by India this June, with three T20 matches and three one-day international matches, was postponed due to Covid-19. The press release announcing the Sony deal said India will play three T20s in Sri Lanka in July 2021, and would play three ODIs on a separate tour, the dates for which are yet to be confirmed.

Welcoming the deal, Rajesh Kaul, chief revenue officer, distribution, and head of the sports business at Sony, said: “Sony Pictures Networks India is the premier destination for the best of international cricket, and we are excited about continuing our partnership with Sri Lanka Cricket.”

SLC president Shammi Silva said: “Sri Lanka Cricket is delighted to partner with Sony Pictures Networks India and continue the long-standing relationship, which has given immense benefits to both parties. Sri Lanka Cricket is truly excited and looking forward to continue working with Sony Pictures Networks India on the future tour program.”

John Stephenson


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