Sony Sports Network, which is telecasting Roland Gaross (French Open) is betting big on the regional language feeds to grow the viewership base for tennis in India. The Grand Slam will be aired in Hindi, English, Tamil, and Telugu.

Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer – Distribution & International Business and Head – Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, told businessline that close to 100 million viewers watched tennis in India in 2022. Australian Open was watched by close to 20 million earlier this year.

“We have nurtured and grown the tennis viewership in India and both Roland Garros & US Open have also experienced considerable growth in ratings after moving to Sony Sports Network. Our programming initiatives that include our live studio show, multi-language feeds and multi-channel coverage have contributed to the growth of tennis in India,” he pointed out.

Besides telecasting in multiple langauges, the broadcaster has also rolled out other initiatives for French Open. It recently up signed up Sania Mirza as its ambassador. “ Our programming initiatives also include our live studio show and an eminent panel of former tennis players,” Kaul added.

Advertisers’ interest

To a query on advertiser response, Kaul said the Grand Slams attract sizeable premium audiences who also display a high degree of engagement with the content.

“Over the last few years, tennis Grand Slams have seen an increased interest from advertisers from categories such as automobiles, mobile handsets, BFSI, lifestyle. We have received a very positive response from advertisers on Roland Garros attracting brands such as Renault , Rolex, Linkedin, Apple, Amul and many more,” he added.

On the impact of regional language feeds, Kaul added, “Hindi, Tamil and Telugu commentary contributed close to 35 per cent of the viewership with around 25 million viewers watching our local language coverage of the Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open in 2022.”