Sports18 Network owned by Viacom18, a joint venture between Network18 and Paramount Global has launched two new sports channels named Sports18- 2 and Sports 18- 3 respectively. Both the channels launched in Standard Definition (SD) only on 1st November 2023. Previously, Sports18- 1 SD and Sports18- 1 HD were launched on 15th April 2022. Later on, Sports18 Khel was launched on 25th April 2022. Most of the DTH operators added Sports18- 1 SD and Sports18- 1 HD on their platform while Sports18 Khel is available exclusively on DD Free Dish.
TV18 Broadcast has introduced a promotional scheme for the newly launched sports channels, pursuant to which the subscription fees of the new sports channels shall stand waived during the promotional scheme period. The promotional scheme period already commenced on 1st November 2023 and expires on 31st January 2024.
Sports18- 2 and Sports18- 3 became a need for Sports18 Network after they secured the media rights of the domestic and international matches from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the next five years between September 2023- March 2028 for a cumulative figure of Rs 5,963 crore. The Network also holds the rights to flagship tournaments like FIFA World Cup, BWF World Championship, MotoGP, Indian Super League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, etc.
According to the Network, Sports18- 2 will telecast Cricket in Hindi while Sports18- 3 will telecast Football and many more in multiple language options including English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Also, this will reduce the burden on Viacom18’s movie and music channels to broadcast sports events and they can concentrate on their own content broadcasting.
After the launch, Tata Play is the first and only DTH operator to add both the channels on their platform. Tata Play subscribers can watch Sports18- 2 on Channel No. 490 and Sports18- 3 on Channel No. 492 in free preview till 31st January 2024 under the promotional scheme. Other than Tata Play, none of the other DTH operators added both channels on their platform as of now.
Star Sports Network first initiated the trend of launching regional sports channels and was later followed by Sony Sports Network. Now, Viacom18 should also focus on launching regional and HD sports channels to compete with Star Sports Network and Sony Sports Network. The majority of viewers watch sports content in High Definition (HD) and we may expect the launch of HD sports channels from the network in the future.
Viacom18 will now have five sports channels with these additions intensifying the tough competition between Sports18, Star Sports, and Sony Sports Networks which will ultimately enhance viewers experience of enjoying their favorite sports from the comfort of their homes.