Rupert Murdoch-promoted News Corporation, which is in middle of restructuring the sports business in Asia, has decided to keep the sports broadcasting business under its Indian subsidiary STAR India.
The process has started after News Corp has bought out Walt Disney's 50% stake the Asian broadcasting joint venture ESPN Star Sports (ESS), for $335 million.
Intrestingly, in rest of Asian countries, the ESS business will be under Fox International Channels (FIC).
STAR India COO Sanjay Gupta had told Business Standard that the formal change in India will take some time and it is expected before June this year. Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already cleared the acquisition in September last year.
Meanwhile, it is understood that even if it will be a part of STAR India, the sports business will continue to function as a separate entity. The Indian subsidiary of ESS, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd (ESIPL) has a separate team under Aloke Malik as its MD. As per sources, the ad sales, marketing and distribution teams will work with the STAR India.
Recently, Amit Chopra, former Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd CEO, had joined STAR India under Gupta to oversee sports business. STAR India had last year acquired the all media rights of BCCI till 2018 for a whopping Rs 3851 crore.
In rest of Asia, ESS renamed ESPN as Fox Sports. In a statement, it said beginning January 28, the ESPN networks will be renamed as Fox Sports networks across various affiliate platforms in Asia. News Corp had named Peter Hutton, SVP of FIC Sports as Managing Director of ESS last year.
Interestingly, the name change will start with South East Asian countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
While ESPN will be renamed as Fox Sports, ESPN HD will be Fox Sports Plus (HD), sports news channel ESPNews will be Fox Sports News, broadband network ESPN Player will be Fox Sports Play and mobileESPN will be rechristened as Fox Sports Mobile.
“Sports has always been a driver genre in the TV business and with the addition of Fox Sports to FIC Asia’s portfolio, we are well poised to further our position as Asia’s leading network. We are looking to launch even more premium sports content in the near future and are committed to making Fox Sports the premiere destination for passionate sports fans,” Hutton said.