Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) has continued acquiring rights to broadcast overseas cricket in the Indian subcontinent, having signed a deal to telecast - and stream online - matches played in England for the next five years.
Sony already has Indian rights to international matches played in Australia, South Africa, the UAE, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and the West Indies, and their latest venture with the ECB comes ahead of India's bumper tour in July, which includes five Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is. Pakistan are also scheduled to tour England this summer.
"The acquisition of media rights of ECB for a five-year term, effective now through 2022, provides for some exciting cricket viewership," NP Singh, managing director and chief executive officer of SPN said. "Cricket is a passion for most Indians and this term of ECB games includes three tours of the Indian cricket team which promises some thrilling cricket, the first of these coming close on the heels of the hugely exciting South Africa series."
Star Sports had previously held the broadcast rights for English cricket in India. This new cycle gives Sony access to upwards of 80 international matches played by both men's and women's teams from 2018 to 2022.
Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, said: "Today's announcement means millions of cricket fans across the Indian subcontinent can follow their favourite team in action the next time they tour England - as well as enjoying access to iconic cricketing contests like next year's Ashes. It will also help further raise the global profile of the English game - giving both the England men's and women's teams valuable exposure in a part of the world where people are passionate about cricket and avid followers of the global game as well as their own national team."
Sony is also likely to be one of the contenders for the BCCI's rights to international cricket played in India, which will be sold via an online auction on March 27.
ESPN has a long-term collaboration with Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) for the launch of SONYESPN-branded television channels and digital assets in India and the subcontinent.