Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) have entered into an agreement for the former to acquire ZEE's portfolio of sports channels. The channels are Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Ten 2, Ten 3 and Ten Golf HD.
According to a joint statement, the acquisition is worth US $385mn (Rs 2,578cr). It is subject to regulatory approvals.
SPN already has in its portfolio sports channels Sony Six and Sony ESPN. It partnered ESPN to bring back the network to India in January 2016.
NP Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India, said, “I welcome Ten Sports to the Sony family. The acquisition of Ten Sports Network will strengthen SPN’s offering for viewers of cricket, football and fight sports, complementing our existing portfolio of international and domestic sporting properties. It also aptly demonstrates SPN’s commitment to providing a broad range of sporting entertainment to fans across India and the sub-continent.”
Andy Kaplan, president, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television, said, “India has been a strong driver of Sony Pictures’ growing networks business for two decades, and sports continue to play a significant role in that growth. The acquisition of Ten Sports, following the launch of Sony ESPN channels, will mean that our Indian networks would reach over 800 million viewers and broadcast many of the most popular and prestigious sporting events in the world.”
Punit Goenka, managing director, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, added, “This is a landmark deal for ZEE and a step towards a strategic portfolio shuffle as we grow our general entertainment business both in the domestic and overseas markets. While we have grown our sports business over the last 10 years through acquisition of content at competitive prices, our focus now is on transforming ourselves into an all-round media and content company, comprising of five verticals, viz. broadcast, digital, films, live events, and international business; and we continue to move rapidly towards our set business goals. While I have always been proud of our sports business, I strongly believe that Sony will add more value to it by taking it to even greater heights. I wish them all the success.”
Ten Sports has broadcast rights to cricket from South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. It has also rights to football tournaments UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
Sony's programming portfolio includes the IPL (up for renewal), FIFA World Cup, and the upcoming U-17 World Cup in India.