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SBD Global/September 27, 2013/Media

Indian Sports Channel Sony Six Business Head Optimistic About Non-Cricket Sports

Multi Screen Media's sports channel, Sony Six, "has never been a cricket-only channel," according to Urvi Malvania of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Now looking to create an audience for basketball with new initiatives, newly-appointed Sony Six business head PRASANA KRISHNAN tells why "he is optimistic about non-cricket sports."

Q:
Do you think non-cricket sports will grow in India?
Prasana Krishnan: While cricket does give you the market share, reach and revenues, it has a flip side. There is only so much cricket that can be played in a year and there are at least four players fighting for the bid at any given time. If you see global trends, as a country develops economically, it grows towards being a multi-sport nation. I see a lot of potential in other sports.

Q: What are the non-cricket sports that will ensure good viewership?
Krishnan: Schools and colleges, at least those in urban and semi-urban areas, have basketball courts and football, cricket grounds. There is infrastructure, and there is interest. We are definitely looking at these basketball and football seriously. Tennis and badminton too have scope in India. Players in both these sports have been in the limelight off-late and the authorities and broadcasters are doing their bit as well. The other avenue is contact and fight sports.

Q: Is there an Indian sport for which it is tough to gain eyeballs?
Krishnan: The only problem I see is with hockey. Hockey grounds are fast disappearing and sadly, the youth doesn’t seem excited about it.

Q: Cricket is already the most popular game. What opportunities do you see there?
Krishnan: Cricket will always be there. All the four broadcasters have some Indian and non-Indian cricket on their channels. With digitisation and evolution of the audiences, I say that cricket is necessary, but not like before. Having said that, cricket still accounts for around 90% of the total broadcasting revenues.

Q: What was the response for your NBA Jam initiative?
Krishnan: We are very happy with the response we got for the NBA Jam events. We had participation from 500 teams in mind, but twice as many teams registered. The response has been wonderful on ground. We have brands like Adidas and Sprite which have partnered with the initiative. What is also heartening to see is the support for the participating players (BUSINESS STANDARD, 9/26).
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