Sony Pictures Networks India acquires media rights for Rugby World Cup 2019
MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has acquired the exclusive media rights for Rugby World Cup 2019 from the Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL). The tournament will be held in Japan from 20th September to 2nd November 2019 and telecast in India live and exclusive on the SONY TEN 2 channels and will be live-streamed on SPN’s premium video on demand (VOD) service, SonyLIV.
The terms of the deal include exclusive television and digital rights across territories in the Indian subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, and exclusive pay television and digital rights for Sri Lanka.
The Rugby World Cup is the world’s most prestigious rugby tournament and sees participation from the top rugby teams in the world. Held every four years, the 2019 edition of the Rugby World Cup is the ninth edition of the tournament and will see 20 teams playing 48 matches across 12 venues in Japan for the coveted Webb Ellis Cup. Participating nations include the defending champions New Zealand, Ireland, England, Wales, South Africa, Australia, Scotland, France, Fiji and Argentina amongst others.
Rugby is a fast-growing sport in India, with a dedicated fan base and talented local athletes. India is enjoying a significant surge in rugby participation and interest and is home to a fan base of 23 million (43% are female) according to the latest Nielsen research, demonstrating the huge potential of one of the world’s most populous nations. Introduced to India in the late 1800s, Indian rugby players have managed to make a mark on the global stage over the years by putting up strong performances. As Indian audiences shift from being pure cricket viewers to multi-sports viewers, the popularity of rugby is on the rise.
SPNI Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head – Sports Business Rajesh Kaul said, “It is our endeavor to showcase marquee international events to our viewers and Rugby World Cup 2019 is the most prestigious rugby tournament in the world. Sony Pictures Networks India was the official broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup 2015 and we received a very encouraging response from viewers across the country. Rugby as a sport is extremely engaging to watch and has a dedicated following in India which makes it the perfect addition to our sports offerings.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper added, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Sony Pictures Networks India to broadcast the Rugby World Cup live in a number of territories across the Indian subcontinent, which is such an exciting and important region for the future growth or our game. In India alone we have witnessed unprecedented interest in rugby being ignited in this country of 1.3 billion people and a great sense of momentum building, as demonstrated by the record breaking turn out and political support for the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour last year. It was fantastic to see that rugby in India is being embraced by players and fans from all backgrounds and social classes, in keeping with World Rugby’s ethos of a game for all. Thanks to the hard-working efforts of World Rugby’s partners in Asia Rugby and Rugby India the platform is set for the first Rugby World Cup in Asia to be a game-changer for the sport in this region, and I’m sure that the coverage of Japan 2019 provided by Sony Pictures Networks India will inspire many new players and fans.”