ESPN Star Sports (ESS), Asia’s largest sports broadcaster has applied to the Indian government for permission to downlink the proposed channel, which is likely to be called ESPNews. The new channel would be an addition to its already existing ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket.
Earlier this week, ESS had relaunched ESPN and Start Sports Channel across all Asian countries. “The relaunch aims to enhance the value of our brands — a stronger brand means better and more business,” said RC Venkateish, managing director of ESPN Software. The move was also strategically designed as Champions Trophy scheduled for later this month and the T20 Champions League next month, are round the corner.
ESS has exclusive broadcast rights to T20 Champions League, Champions Trophy, FIFA World Cup and the T20 World Cup that will be broadcast in the next 12 months.
ESS already competes with half a dozen round-the-clock sports channels in the Indian market: Nimbus Communications’ Neo Sports and Neo Cricket, Zee Network’s Zee Sports and TEN Sports, Sony’s SET Max and state-run DD Sports. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also planning an all-cricket channel.
The Indian arm of ESS contributes 45-55% of the total revenues earned by the company, most of which is generated by cricket alone.