SPN will now have the rights to air Raw, SmackDown, NXT as well as WWE pay-per-view specials live on its sports and digital platforms
Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited (SPN) has extended its partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for five years. In addition, the broadcaster will air WWE’s weekly flagship programming and localised content in India and the Indian subcontinent, exclusively available on SPN’s television and digital platforms. SPN will now have the rights to air Raw, SmackDown, NXT as well as WWE pay-per-view specials live on its sports and digital platforms in English, Hindi and regional languages.
According to Rajesh Kaul, head sports and chief revenue officer distribution, Sony Pictures Networks India, this deal will give Sony an increased exposure to valuable content. “WWE has been consistently ranking in the top three properties across all sports networks in India, dominating the sports entertainment space. Through this first of its kind deal, we will be able to reach out to a broader viewer base across India on multiple platforms,” he added.
The expanded partnership also provides SPN the rights to WWE Network which hosts thousands of hours of content to be made available to audiences in India exclusively through SonyLIV, SPN’s OTT platform. In addition and for the first time, SPN will curate content from WWE’s extensive video library which includes live events, iconic matches, interviews with Legends, reality shows, documentaries and more, on its own platforms.
“India is a strategically important market for WWE and Sony Pictures Networks has been an extraordinary partner in helping to grow our fanbase in the region making it one of the most-watched sports properties, James Rosenstock, executive vice-president, International, WWE, said.
The agreement comes at a time when WWE’s popularity in India is on the rise. WWE is one of the most-watched sports properties in India, and India ranks number one for WWE YouTube consumption and WWE Facebook followers. In addition, WWE has been actively recruiting elite athletes and performers from the country. Last year, WWE hosted one of its largest tryout, where more than 70 athletes from India showcased their abilities in Mumbai. Four Indian recruits were selected to begin training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, US.