Star plans to acquire media rights for NFL: Reports

Earlier, NFL fans based in India had to buy a league pass through the multi-sport aggregator platform, FanCode to watch the games.

The Star Sports Network is potentially planning to secure the media rights of the National Football League (NFL), as Disney+Hotstar was seen LIVE streaming NFL matches lately. 

The NFL is the biggest and the most followed sports league in the United States. It’s the most popular sport in the US by a wide margin in terms of viewership as well. With the league coming to India that too with the support of a broadcaster like Star will certainly attract high viewership and will help the league expand their global presence in a country with a population of over 1 billion.

Earlier, NFL fans based in India had to buy a league pass through the multi-sport aggregator platform, FanCode to watch the games.

In January 2020, FanCode had signed a multi-season deal with the NFL that enabled fans to enjoy five LIVE games every week during the regular season and also the Super Bowl, which is considered to be one of the world’s biggest annual sporting events.

With Star potentially planning to acquire the media rights of the league, fans would be able to watch these matches LIVE on the Star Sports Network or through their OTT platform Disney+ Hotstar.

If the agreement goes ahead as planned, NFL will be the third US league to enter the Indian market after National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).

The media rights for the MLB have been acquired by FanCode, while Star currently holds the media rights to broadcast the NBA games.

The media rights for the NBA have fluctuated over the last few years, as before 2012 the rights were split between Ten Sports and Sony Pix. Sony became the official broadcast partner of the NBA for almost eight years after the two signed a multi-year broadcast deal in 2012.

Following the eight-year collaboration, NBA recently signed a media rights deal with Star Sports and Prasar Bharati. As per the agreement, Prasar Bharati’s sports channel – Doordarshan (DD) Sports and its YouTube channel Prasar Bharati Sports have been broadcasting classic NBA content like documentaries, NBA TV specials, game highlights, etc.

Disney+Hotstar LIVE streamed the fixtures between Eagles vs Chiefs, Steelers vs Raiders and Chiefs vs Chargers in the past one month.

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