ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS), the 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN) and News Corporation (STAR) has recently announced carriage deals for STAR Cricket in the Philippines and Indonesia. The channel already has presence in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand, along with India since 2007.
The network claims that this is an attempt to expand footprint beyond traditional cricket markets and the network's efforts to grow the popularity of the sport across Southeast Asia. Both these markets are driven by advertising revenues. Currently, the channel is available on cable platforms in the two countries.
ESS also launched STAR Cricket HD in July, 2011 in key markets across Asia such as India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Singapore, offering cricket fans an enriching and engaging experience with a strong line up of cricket content in unparalleled image and sound quality, the network claims.
The network's other sports properties, ESPN and STAR Sports, are present in the two countries on both analogue and digital distribution platforms.
STAR Cricket features international cricket events across all formats of the game and its line up of cricket properties includes the International Cricket Council (ICC) events, international and domestic cricket from India, Australia and England and the International Club Twenty20 tournament, Champions League Twenty20.
It also showcased the inaugural edition of the Sri Lankan Premier League and the Bangladesh Premier League, earlier this year.
For the record, ESPN-STAR Sports' television networks include ESPN-STAR Sports, STAR Cricket, ESPNews, ESPN HD and STAR Cricket HD. The network also hosts a broadband network (ESPN player), digital content services (espnstar.com, mobileespn) and an on-ground event management arm.