In a country of 1.3 billion people and over 850 TV channels, the race to retain the top position and attract viewership requires strenuous effort.
Currently, almost 210 million households in India own a television set, this is an increase of 6.9% from the 197 million households that owned a television set in 2018 (data shared by BARC 2021).
However, irrespective of which demographic you belong to or which dialect you speak, the one thing that unites our nation is sports. With India performing well in various individual sports like tennis, badminton, shooting, etc Indian viewers are getting more inclined towards the sports genre.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup witnessed a reach of 167 million on television, and it broke viewership records in various regions including India.
And how can we possibly forget the live streaming of IPL matches that has helped several sports channels to own top positions.
The IPL 2021 accumulated 380 million TV viewers and channels witnessed many new brands.
Now, a very valid question that follows is- which sports channel should you advertise on?
Worry not! we have got you covered.
Here is the list of Top 10 Sports Channels of India, formulated on the basis of the number of visitors on these channels on The Media Ant’s website in the past year (2021).
So, without further ado, lets find out the Top 10 Sports Channels of India (set in descending order of viewership):
Star Sports 1 (Earlier known as ESPN Sports) is a cricket-centric pay-TV sports channel that is owned by Star India.
Previously it was a part of ESPN Star Sports and its operations were based in Singapore, later Star India took over the Indian business and under the unified brand of Star Sports, it relaunched the channels in 2013.
Star Sports is the official broadcaster of Indian cricket.
During IPL 2021, Star Sports became the number one channel in viewership ratings. It went on to set a new viewership record, by reaching 400 million viewers.
Even the 2021 India-England Test series broadcasted on Star Sports witnessed a reach of 103 million viewers.
Do you need any more reasons for advertising on Star Sports 1 in 2022? Don’t think so.
Star Sports Hindi 1 belongs to the Star Sports group, a cricket-based television channel owned by Star India. It telecasts the best live International and Indian cricket matches and sports-related programs in the Hindi language.
The live streaming of the Indian Premier League on Star Sports 1 Hindi provides the channel with huge viewership.
The dedicated Hindi sports channel of Star India even rules BARC India’s chart of top ten channels across genres, thanks to IPL and other popular sports events.
The innovative storytelling during matches and the production value has massively fuelled the growth of the channel.
Sony Ten 3 belongs to the Sony Pictures Network India and is a group of Indian TV sports channels. It broadcasts cricket, basketball, MMA, golf, tennis, and professional wrestling matches.
The channel is a part of Sony Pictures Sports Network. Sony Ten 3 airs cricket matches from the Sri Lanka, England, Australian, and Pakistan cricket boards.
The broadcasts are usually in Hindi, and they also telecast football matches.
Sony Ten 3 HD broadcasts UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) matches in HD format in the Hindi language.
According to Statista, in 2021 the weekly viewership (Jan 23 – Jan 29) of Sony Ten 3 reached 64 million viewers.
4. Sony Six
Sony SIX is the Indian pay TV sports channel owned by Sony Pictures Networks India. The channel airs several sports events.
Sony Six is part of Sony Pictures Sports Network, and all of them are owned by the Sony Corporation. Sony Six primarily broadcasts cricket tournaments and is aimed at the youth segment.
It also airs cricket, football, mixed martial arts, professional wrestling, basketball, rugby union, badminton, and soccer.
The channel showcases an impressive mix of events and programs that cater to a wide range of audiences.
The channel consistently provides differentiated content to the viewers and serves as a conducive platform for brands and advertisers.
Star Sports 3 belongs to the Star Sports group, a television sports channel that showcases the best live International and Indian cricket matches and related programs in English, Bengali, Hindi, and Malayalam.
Star Sports has offered this channel to ensure that they are now able to reach the regional audiences too, thus opening new opportunities for brands.
Star Sports Hindi 1 belongs to the cricket-centric TV channel group Star Sports, which is now a subsidiary of Disney India.
It broadcasts live International and Indian cricket matches and related programs in the Hindi language.
In the past few years, the consumption of sports-related content in Hindi has doubled, with Hindi becoming a prime language for sports commentary.
As per Star Sports, during the India-Australia series, 71% of viewership came from the Hindi commentary, as the language gained immediate attention.
7. Sony Ten 1
Sony Ten 1 showcases events from the Asian Games, World Athletics Championships, Sukma Games, and Commonwealth Games.
The programming schedule also includes live coverage of rallying, tennis, beach volleyball events, horse racing, and basketball.
WWE Raw (with the thirty-minute pre-show) and the WWE SmackDown are currently broadcasted live on weekly basis.
WWE Sunday Dhamaal, NXT, and Main Event are the monthly pay-per-view special shows.
The wide array of programs attracts a lot of young people, and now the channel is even available in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Star Sports HD 1 belongs to the group of the Indian sports channel Star Sports which is owned by Star India.
The introduction of the HD channel offers an amplified viewing experience.
It also ensures more number of matches and the airing of behind the scene moments, all of this in high definition.
Sony TEN 1 HD is a 24×7 HD channel that broadcasts several sports-related content and matches in high definition. It showcases various sports, some of the popular ones include football, tennis, motorsports, and cricket among others.
Sony Ten 1 HD belongs to Sony Pictures Network and is a part of Sony Pictures Sports Network.
Due to the increase in the viewership of HD channels, Sony Ten launched its HD channel in 2017.
10. DD Sports
The Indian sports channel DD Sports is telecasted from Central Production Centre Delhi, India. The channel, which was launched on 18 March 1998, is an integral part of the Doordarshan family and is also the main sports broadcaster of India.
On July 15, 2003, DD Sports became the only free-to-air channel in the sports genre.
The channel airs live sporting events like football, cricket, tennis in addition to international sport-related programs.
However, Indian sports like kho-kho and kabaddi steal the show. As per BARC, the weekly viewership of DD Sports is approximately 16k.
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