With the sports media segment seeing revenue and viewership growth, Sanjay Gupta managing director, Star India Pvt. Ltd. is confident that the business of sport is only going to get “bigger and better” in the coming years.
He stated that now sports in India is no longer only about Cricket.” Today you see the power of Cricket, Kabaddi, Hockey, Football, Badminton, nd Tennis, it is no longer only about Cricket” Mint quoted Sanjay as saying.
The company, which has invested over Rs 20,000 crore in the sports business, is eyeing operational break-even from this segment in FY18. The Indian subsidiary of 21st Century Fox has a July-June financial cycle.
How will this year be a big year for sports beyond cricket?
Gupta further told Mint that this is the first big year for sports beyond cricket. “This year, across companies, across businesses, sports beyond cricket will clock sponsorship revenue of close to $100 million (Rs647.8 crore), this number was zero in 2013. I think this is the first big year for other sports because earlier, people were still tentative, they were still not sure if these (leagues) would stay. In the first few years, everyone is wondering if it’s a one-off or is it a real sustainable phenomenon. The last year has proven that it is,” he said.
Gupta stated Kabaddi a turning point both for him and Star India.According to him the viewership of Kabaddi have reached 40-45 crore.
What will be the impact of Star Sports FTA?
With the launch of Star Sports First in the free to air (FTA) genre, Star India will target the people who don’t have much access to pay to watch sports on TV other than DD sports. Star Sports First, will launch on the Free dish, Doordarshan’s subscription-free DTH platform, on 21st July.“The FTA market in the Hindi heartland – UP, MP, Bihar – hasn’t had access to sports. The only sports that reach them is DD Sports and that will have only one or two big matches of India and they don’t even get to know what is happening in the world of sport. So Star Sports First will be the first handshake for those viewers with sports,” The Economic Times quoted Gupta as saying.
Star India’s digital business is still in the investment phase. Though Hotstar’s revenues are increasing, it still requires investments. “Digital continues to be in its growth phase, it will need investments. It’s difficult to predict the timing for profitability, but it’s changing so fast, growing so quickly and the opportunity is so large that it’s difficult to comment on how long it will take,” Gupta further said.
Gupta also said that Star will bid for the TV and digital media rights of IPL which is up for grabs for 5 years.
Truly, Star India has taken sports viewership in India beyond Cricket in the last 2-3 years. The epic success of tournaments like Pro Kabaddi League and ISL is proof of it. Other leagues like Boxing and Table Tennis are coming in, which will increase the love and desire of Indian kids into many new sports. Kudos to Star India for taking Indian sports beyond Cricket.