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SBD Global/November 6, 2013/Media

STAR TV India Puts $3.2B Into Revamping Sports Channels, Retires ESPN Brand Name

STAR TV India is putting in "a substantial" Rs 20,000 crore ($3.2B) in the next three to five years to "revamp its sports channel offerings," according to Surajeet Das Gupta of the India BUSINESS STANDARD. STAR is "not just content buying expensive broadcasting rights." For one, it "wants to develop and push non-cricketing sports." Therefore, it is "going to buy equity stake in properties in sports like hockey and badminton and build them up (like it has done by buying 30 per cent stake in the Indian Football League)." For another, it is "aggressively marketing hitherto untouched properties like university cricket." And, it wants to buy sponsorship rights so that its brand is "synonymous with sports (it took title sponsorship rights for all the 13 international cricket matches to be held in India between October 2013 and March 2014)." To meet its objectives, STAR is "revamping its sports channel portfolio." It is "retiring the ESPN brand name (it had bought over ESPN) and pulling out Star Cricket, a channel almost exclusively dedicated to the sport." Instead, it will "have six sports channels -- Star Sports 1 to 4 and two high-definition (HD) channels" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 11/5).
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