Multi Screen Media (MSM) and ESPN have announced a 'long-term' agreement in India, marking the return of the sports broadcaster to Indian TV screens.
The collaboration will see the launch of Sony ESPN sports channels and a new multi-sport website and app. To begin with, Sony Kix will be rebranded as Sony ESPN. Sony Six will continue to exist with its current brand name, as will ESPNcricinfo.
Regulatory approvals on aspects of the collaboration are awaited, informed an official statement.
NP Singh, CEO, MSM, said, "Our partnership with ESPN is just what the sports aficionado has been waiting for. Stylised, insightful sports content presented by the best sportscasters in the business. For consumers in India and the subcontinent, sports television viewing will change dramatically since they will soon have access not only to more content but also the widest array of sports lineup, ever available. MSM’s association with ESPN is holistic and embraces both television and digital formats. Not only are we about to set the frontiers in sports content and distribution but we will most likely set the trends as well. Going further, both companies will also explore collaboration on the development of other original sports programmes."
Russell Wolff, EVP and MD, ESPN International, said, "ESPN’s focus around the world is simple: to serve sports fans. This exciting, long-term collaboration between ESPN and MSM will serve Indian sports fans with exceptional products, content and coverage through the combined strengths and expertise of our two companies, which each have a strong heritage of leadership and innovation in India. We are very excited to be working with Sony, one of the leading television channels in India, on the opportunities that lie ahead."
MSM currently has the rights for the UEFA Euro 2016, La Liga, The English FA Cup and Serie A, the NBA, the NFL, the IRB Rugby World Cup, UFC, TNA Wrestling and NASCAR, among others.
ESPN will add more than 1000 hours of programming per year from its portfolio of sports rights, original programming and studio programs, the statement added.