Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has acquired the exclusive media rights to broadcast the Durand Cup in India between 2023 and 2024. As part of the deal, the broadcaster will televise the 132nd AND 133rd editions of the coveted football tournament on its sports channels in India as well as across other subcontinental nations such as Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.
The upcoming edition of the prestigious tournament is slated to begin on the 3rd of August and will witness a total of 43 matches between 24 teams, up from 20 last year. The finals are scheduled for the 3rd of September.
Fans can watch the tournament live on Sony Sports Ten 2 channels and the matches will also be available for livestreaming online on Sony’s OTT platform SonyLIV.
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The Durand Cup, started by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, the then Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, was first played in the year 1888, making it Asia’s oldest football competition and the third oldest in the World.
The Durand Cup is the only tournament in India that has teams competing from multiple tiers of the football spectrum including the Indian Super League, the I-League, and other division teams, as well as teams from the Armed Forces, against each other.
The iconic tournament is conducted by the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS), whose President is the Chief of Defence Staff, with the Service Chiefs of the Army, Airforce, and Navy, being its Vice-Presidents.
Organized by the Indian Army, on behalf of the three Services, the tournament is currently being conducted by Eastern Command.
The competition also offers the winning team the possibility to clinch three glittering trophies, the Durand Cup, the Shimla Trophy given by the residents of Shimla in 1904 and the President’s Cup.
The 24 teams have been divided into six groups of four teams each. Three of these groups will play their matches in Kolkata, while Guwahati and Kokrajhar in Assam, will host two and one group respectively. Guwahati and Kokrajhar will also host a quarter-final each, with the rest of the knockout games scheduled to be played in Kolkata.
This upcoming edition of the illustrious tournament will also see the participation of foreign teams after a gap of 27 years, as the Army teams of Nepal and Bangladesh have also confirmed their participation.
The tournament will also stage multiple local rivalries, headlined by the Kolkata derby, one of the biggest footballing derbies in the world, between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Emami East Bengal.
The Kerala derby between ISL side Kerala Blasters and 2019 champions Gokulam Kerala is also a highly anticipated clash slated to be played in the upcoming tournament.
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A couple of Southern derbies, between Hyderabad FC and Chennaiyin FC and champions Bengaluru FC and Gokulam Kerala, have also received top billing while the North-East derby between North-East United FC and Shillong Lajong is also certain to turn heads.
Indian skipper and certified legend, Sunil Chhetri, picked up his first-ever Durand Cup title last year as Bengaluru FC defeated Mumbai City FC 2-1 in the final at Kolkata’s hallowed Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
Watch the LIVE coverage of Durand Cup 2023 on Sony Sports Ten 2 channels as well as live stream on SonyLIV starting 3rd August 2023 from 6.00 pm IST