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Zee Entertainment sells Ten Sports to Sony Pictures for Rs 2,600 cr

by S E.R.

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Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) said it will acquire TEN Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE) and its subsidiaries for 385 million U.S. dollars (around Rs 2,600 cr).

The acquisition will add South Asia’s leading sports network to SPN’s existing portfolio of channels and help Sony to compete better with Rupert Murdoch’s Start Sports network — currently the biggest player in India’s sports entertainment market.

For Zee, the deal represents an exit from a business that has been rather temperamental in its performance. Zee had been forced to make huge investments into the Ten Sports network, but has not been able to get the expected returns.

Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television: “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.”

The TEN Sports channels being acquired include TEN 1, TEN 1 HD, TEN 2, TEN 3, TEN Golf HD, TEN Cricket, TEN Sports that operate in several countries including 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 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.

Long a television destination for sports fans, SPN sports properties include cricket (IPL, CPL, Ram Slam), football (FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia, UEFA Euro 2016, FIFA World Events including FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 in India, European and South American Qualifiers for FIFA WC 2018, FIFA Confederations Cup, LaLiga, Serie A, FA Cup, Copa America Centenario, International Champions Cup), tennis (Australian Open, ATP 1000 and 500 World Tour Events, Champions Tennis League), fight sports (TNA, UFC, Pro Wrestling League), basketball (NBA) as well as NFL and Premier Futsal.

NP Singh, CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India said the acquisition of TEN Sports Network will strengthen SPN’s offering for viewers of cricket, football and fight sports.

“It also aptly demonstrates SPN’s commitment to providing a broad range of sporting entertainment to fans across India and the sub-continent.”

Punit Goenka, Managing Director, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE): “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 al 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.”

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