Sony Pictures has bought Indian sports broadcaster Ten Sports Network and its subsidiaries from Subhash Chandra's Zee Entertainment Enterprises for $385 million (approximately Rs 2,600 crore), as reported by the The Economic Times on Wednesday. The deal will add five channels – Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Ten 2, Ten 3 and Ten Golf HD – to Sony's current portfolio of channels.
Sony Pictures and ESPN Inc jointly own the Indian sport channel Sony ESPN and have the rights to broadcast the following high-profile sport events: Indian Premier League, FIFA competitions and UEFA competitions, among others.
The two major properties that Sony will acquire through this deal are the rights to World Wrestling Entertainment and the UEFA Champions League. Sony already has the rights to WWE's competitor, Total Nonstop Wrestling. The two wrestling leagues are among the most highly-viewed non-cricketing leagues in India.
With this acquisition of Ten Sports by Sony, the Indian sports broadcasting business is likely to see a clash between two big players: the Fox-owned Star India and Sony Pictures. Star India currently holds the telecast rights of all cricketing events organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the International Cricket Council, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Cricket Australia, apart from high-profile non-cricketing events such as the English Premier League in football.
This deal is not just limited to India, and will include Ten's other channels such as Ten Cricket and Ten Sports operating in the Indian sub-continent and other countries.