STAR Sports has acquired the broadcast rights for international hockey through a partnership deal with International Hockey Federation (FIH). STAR India will be responsible for broadcasting the matches in India. The eight-year deal will be effective from January, 2015 to December, 2022.
STAR India recently tied up with Hockey India to launch the Hockey India League (HIL). In its first season, HIL was broadcast in more than 80 territories across the globe.
Nitin Kukreja, head of sports business, STAR India, says that hockey is a priority sport for the network. He adds, "We are thrilled that India will host one key event every year during the eight year term. We believe that hosting an international event each year, which is produced innovatively, will significantly boost the popularity of hockey in India. The sport has a glorious heritage in India and we believe that it has a tremendous future."
An important part of this deal with FIH is to improve the quality of production for the hockey matches. STAR Sports will be the host broadcaster for key FIH events both in India and throughout the world and will be responsible for ensuring consistent and high level production.
Leandro Negre, president, International Hockey Federation, says, "Our vision is to entertain and inspire a global movement of hockey fans and players and STAR Sports is an industry leader when it comes to significantly increasing the reach and popularity of sport. Not only will STAR Sports promote hockey worldwide between Olympic Games' cycles, which is incredibly important to sustaining interest in hockey, but it will make our sport much more interactive and entertaining."
Drawing younger viewers to the game and the tournaments is also an important aim of this partnership.
Kelly Fairweather, chief executive officer, International Hockey Federation, adds, "I consider the partnership to be a game changer both for the sport of hockey and for the millions of fans who will watch FIH events on television and on the internet all around the world. STAR Sports shares our determination to raise the bar in terms of the production values and the viewer experience in a rapidly changing multi-screen environment."
For the record, STAR India broadcasts more than 40 channels in seven languages, reaching more than 700 million viewers every week across India and 100 other countries.