Sony Pictures Networks India Scores South Asia Rights for 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, as IPL Bid Looms

Sony Pictures Asian Games
Sony Pictures Networks India/ Asian Games Hangzhou 2022

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has acquired exclusive South Asia media rights for the 2022 Asian Games taking place later this year at Hangzhou, China.

SPN will have the rights to broadcast the games across its sports channels in India and the subcontinent including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Maldives, and on streamer SonyLIV through Sept. 2023. The 19th edition of the games will take place Sept. 10-25 at Hangzhou and five co-host cities. SPN also has exclusive rights to produce clips and highlights throughout the tenure of the agreement.

The Asian Games rights enhance SPN’s already bulging sports kitty for the subcontinent that includes multiple cricket tournaments and series, soccer championships and volleyball and badminton competitions. The Asian Games this year features T20 cricket and that falls in line with Sony’s stated ambitions of making an aggressive bid for the lucrative Indian Premier League cricket tournament. Sony was the previous rights holder, but in 2017, Star TV, then owned by Fox, outbid them, paying £2.55 billion for five years from 2018 through 2022.

The landscape now, with the IPL rights up again for auction soon, has changed considerably. Star TV is now a part of the giant Disney stable and Sony is in the middle of a merger with ZEE, which will make it a strong opponent. Adding to the mix is billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18, which is also planning a major foray into sports broadcasting, Variety understands. Ambani’s Reliance Jio was one of the bidders in 2017.

The other bidders in 2017 included Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Sky. The bid amount is likely to double this year, according to Indian TV industry sources.

Meanwhile, the Asian Games will feature 40 sports including swimming, archery, athletics, badminton, equestrian, fencing, soccer, hockey, judo and kabaddi, with e-sports and breakdancing debuting as full medal sports after being approved by the Olympic Council of Asia.

For the first time ever, more than 300 athletes from Oceania countries, including Australia and New Zealand, will compete in five sports – triathlon, athletics, wushu, roller skating and weightlifting.