My Love-Hate Relationship With Hotstar

Hotstar, the Indian live streaming service has bought rights to many sporting events across the world. Be it cricket, EPL, F1 or any such sporting Hotstar has it. A recent £15 Pay per View for the English Premier League fans in the UK got me thinking about how good we have it in India at the moment.

For example, a Rs 399 plan for Hotstar would get you IPL, EPL, F1, Martial Arts and many other live sports events. For comparison, in the UK you need to pay £25 for the subscription of Sky Sports along with a mind-numbing £15 for a single extra match.

The whole world is currently fighting against the coronavirus. There is a steep decline in the economy all around the globe. All sports events are now being held without a stadium crowd, something that contributes to around 25-50% of any sport’s earnings. To fight a slump in the earnings, the Premier League governing body decided to make Premier League games not selected for broadcast by Sky Sports or BT Sport, available for £14.95. This decision was taken under Project Big Picture, something that has been protested by the fans from the day it was put in place. Even Gary Neville, the Manchester United legend tweeted against it.

Meanwhile in India, we get to see all the EPL matches for Rs 399 (£4.13) a year, along with the IPL, Formula 1, and other sports. Hotstar also broadcasted the Bundesliga until last year but has not bought the rights for this year. I was not happy with Hotstar a few months ago as I thought the quality of streaming is not very good, which it is, but now looking at the plight of English fans I could at least take solace in budget streaming services available to me.

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Hotstar has many drawbacks as a streaming service, poor video quality being the topmost concern for anyone who wants to watch a sports event. Despite its shortcomings, however, Hotstar is an overall boon for any sports enthusiast in India and we should enjoy it while it lasts.

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