What was to happen among the sports TV channels has finally happened. Zee TV sold its bouquet of sports channels under the TEN Sports umbrella to Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) for $385 million. According to industry watchers, this was a move in the pipeline for a while.
Overall, it works out well for all. For Sony, “it brings a strong portfolio of rights in cricket, football and fight sports. We can now grow our footprint in India,” say N.P.Singh, CEO, SPNI. The TEN Sports channels operate in, besides the Indian sub-continent, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, Caribbean. TEN Sports holds broadcast rights to major cricket boards (South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe). In addition, Ten Sports also holds rights to wrestling (WWE), football (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, French League, English Football League Cup), tennis (WTA Events, ATP events), golf (European Tour, Asian Tour, Ryder Cup, US PGA Championship, LPGA Tour, Professional Golf Tour of India and Golf Channel Block), athletics (Asian Games, Commonwealth Games), motor sports (Moto GP) and cycling (Tour de France) events.
For Zee, this was part of an ongoing strategic shuffle at the group, leaving it to concentrate on its general entertainment channels. “ 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,” says Punit Goenka, Managing Director, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE).