Multi Screen Media (MSM), which runs Sony Entertainment Television in India, has announced plans to launch its long anticipated sports channel Six on 7 April.
The channel will feature Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts and highlights from the first four seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL) twenty20 cricket tournament. Its sister channel SET Max is currently showing live action from IPL 5, which runs from 4 April-27 May.
In addition to UFC and cricket, Six will show football, badminton and basketball – sports aimed in particular at the youth market, according to the broadcaster.
"We are excited to launch our new premium sports entertainment channel – Six. The channel will launch with the key driver property being UFC Mixed Martial Arts and the best of the first four seasons of the DLF IPL," said Man Jit Singh, chief executive, Multi Screen Media.
"This latest offering from our bouquet reiterates our commitment to bring the best in every genre to young audiences. Six is aimed at the informed and empowered youth of the country who are enthusiastic to adopt new sports. We are confident that Six will be the premier sports channel and stand out by fulfilling its promise to cater to the twin passions of the country – sports and entertainment," he said.
NP Singh, chief operating officer, MSM added: "Six will skew younger, catering to India's appetite for Indian and the counterpart international sports leagues. Six will provide a platform for Indian athletes to showcase their talent and will fuel India's aspirations to excel globally. We will invest in new sports; sports that the new-age 'India on the move' youth want to watch and follow."
The news comes just days after MSM lost out to rival Star Sports for the rights to air BCCI-hosted cricket matches played by India's national team on home soil over the next six years. MSM already owns the broadcast rights to the IPL, New Zealand cricket, FA Cup football, and NBA basketball.
Six will compete in India's sports channel sector with ESPN-Star Sports, the 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney and News Corporation; the Zee-owned Taj TV with its Ten Sports brand; Neo Broadcast; and the state-owned Doordarshan (DD) Sports channel.
In addition to Max, MSM runs Hindi general entertainment channel Sony TV, SAB TV, Sony Pix, AXN, Animax and the Sony Mix music channel.