Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has renewed its exclusive media rights for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Conference League for an additional three seasons.

People familiar with the matter indicate that the three-year deal starting in 2024-25 and ending in 2026-27 could be valued at $40 million.

Both Sony and UEFA declined to comment.

As part of the deal, SPNI's Sony Sports Network will have exclusive TV broadcast and digital rights to about 1,600 matches featuring Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool.

The renewal builds on the extension of the UEFA Euro 2024 and 2028 media rights deal between the two companies in October last year. The UEFA Euro deal renewal was worth $48 million.

UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said the partnership extension with SPNI will help grow the audience for its tournaments.

"We want to grow the footprint of European football in India, and Sony is a great partner to achieve that. Our sponsors are also keen to push the UEFA Champions League and other competitions in India because it's a massive economy in the making," Epstein told ET.

India ranks second in social media followers for UEFA, following Indonesia, he said. "India counts as one of the biggest audiences we have on social media."

SPNI head of sports business Rajesh Kaul said football is the most followed sport in India after cricket. "While we have lost out on some cricket properties, we are acquiring all the premium football properties to make Sony Sports the home of Indian football," he said.

Apart from UEFA properties, SPNI is also the official broadcaster for the Bundesliga, Emirates FA Cup, and Roshn Saudi Pro League. "Except for the EPL, we have the rest of the football properties with us," Kaul added.

He also said UEFA Champions League viewership in India has surged more than 51% since 2020, largely due to the introduction of regional language commentary.

Kaul said football is expanding its reach beyond the traditional markets of the Northeast, Kerala, and Goa. "Football is gaining traction in key towns and cities across India," he said.

He further stated that SPNI will keep live sports behind the paywall on SonyLIV since that strategy has worked well for the company so far. "Football has been a huge driver of subscription revenue for SPNI across linear and digital," he said.

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2024-03-03T19:28:08Z dg43tfdfdgfd