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Sony acquires media rights to Super Fight League
MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) has acquired the TV and digital rights to mixed martial arts property Super Fight League, which is promoted by British businessman and sports enthusiast Bill Dosanjh and British professional boxing sensation and two-time world champion Amir Khan.
SPNI has the broadcast rights to the league across India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives.
The MMA league will be hosted in India from 20 January to 25 February 2017. The fights will be broadcast live on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD while the opening ceremony will be shown live on Sony Max.
The fights in the league will be held over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and they will be broadcast from 7 to 9 pm over the weekend and can also be streamed live on Sony Liv. The franchisee-based league will feature eight teams and is being organised in association with the All India Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA).
SFL CEO and principal founder Bill Dosanjh said, “Sony ESPN is the channel that is synonymous for bringing MMA to the television sets of the Indian audience. We at Super Fight League are really excited about Sony Pictures Networks India coming on board as the broadcast partners for the inaugural edition of the league. Having Sony as the broadcast partner will help us in our endeavour to reach the maximum variety of audience and make Super Fight League a household name for MMA in India.”
SPNI president, distribution and sports business Rajesh Kaul said, “Having been a forerunner in popularising MMA, the sports cluster of Sony Pictures Networks India is the premier destination for viewing mixed martial arts. We are pleased to announce the expansion of our MMA portfolio with the addition of the Super Fight League which is India’s first mixed martial arts league on our network.”
Incidentally, SFL was founded by Raj Kundra and Sanjay Dutt. It seems the former has opted out of the venture. SFL is owned and operated under a company called Super Fight Promotions. Currently, the two directors on the board are Bill Dosanjh and Sanjay Dutt. Incidentally, British boxer Amir Khan, who is the chairman of the league, is not on the board of directors.
The event was first launched in India in 2012 and then travelled to America. In the past three years, SFL has been arranging fight nights for select audiences through invitation‐based events in India, the USA, Canada and the UAE. The matches are also broadcast on their official YouTube channel. SFL has been broadcast on ESPN Star Sports (now Star Sports), Neo Sports and Hindi GEC Colors.