Sports Business: Sony aims 100mn viewers, ₹250 cr revenue with FIFA WC

Rajesh kaul, Sony Pictures Network India - InsideSport

Sony has many goals to score with the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. The action for the sports fans in India will shift to the Sports Cluster of Sony Pictures Network of India, going to be the home for football world’s biggest competition FIFA World Cup from 14 June to 15 July and India’s cricket teams high octane tour of England from July 3 to September 11.

Sony, the official broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup in the Indian sub-continent, is aiming to score big goals with its precious broadcast property.

Sony Pictures Network India will be gunning for 100 million audiences and ₹250 crore ad sales revenues from the 31-day football extravaganza. SPN will broadcast the FIFA finals in four languages across six network channels.

The World Cup will also be streamed on network’s OTT platform Sony Liv with a 5-minute delay. The paying subscribers will have a privileged access to the simulcast of live streaming on the Sony Live website and mobile app.

“We are looking at a reach of over 100 million viewers and advertising revenues of ₹250-270 crore in advertising,” Rajesh Kaul, Sony’s Sports and Distribution President has told ET as the broadcaster announced its FIFA World Cup campaign in Mumbai. “This year, with the World Cup being held in Russia, there is a lot more excitement as the live matches will be aired during the prime time for Indian viewers.

The match timings at this year’s World Cup in Russia – scheduled between 3.30 pm and 11.30 pm (IST) – suits better to the Indian audience than the World Cup scheduled in Brazil four years ago. This will also give a boost to the World Cup ad sales and revenues for Sony, which had signed 38 brands for the 2014 World Cup.

The Under-17 World Cup in India last year was watched by 47 million TV audience. The numbers were better than the TV ratings for the high-profile international football events like the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, English Premier League 2016-17, La Liga 2016-17 in India. This makes Sony’s World Cup target of 100 million eyeballs quite a realistic one.

“The FIFA World Cup reach will easily cross 100 million. The U-17 Fifa World Cup which took place in the country last year reached 47 million viewers. Soccer is the second most popular sport in the country after cricket,” said Kaul.

Sony has launched a ‘Meri Doosri Country” campaign in run-up to the World Cup. The campaign will run across Sony’s all 31 channels, print and digital mediums.

The campaign is based on the premise that football is the one sport where India does not have national representation at the top. So when the World Cup comes for a month, people out of necessity support another team. Indians become passionate fans of another team.