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STAR India rebrands; sheds 'ESPN' branding

With a commitment of investing about Rs 20,000 crore, the company has rebranded its sports network including six of its sports channels and a sports website.

A year after acquiring complete stake in the (erstwhile) sports joint venture, ESPN-STAR Sports, STAR India has now revamped the branding of the sports network. The company has removed the name 'ESPN' from the channels' identity and reinforced STAR by naming all the channels as STAR Sports 1, 2, 3, 4, HD1 and HD2, and

STAR India rebrands; sheds 'ESPN' branding
STAR India rebrands; sheds 'ESPN' branding
STAR India rebrands; sheds 'ESPN' branding
The channel has launched an extensive brand campaign to communicate the change. The network has launched three
featuring Mahendra Singh Dhoni, promoting the campaign 'Believe' that the network now stands for. Dhoni is the first brand ambassador and more sportsmen are expected to come aboard with time. The TVCs are running on the STAR network channels and all channels are carrying Astons on the lower half of the screen. The logos of the sports channels keep changing between the old and the new one. Other than this, the network has brought out full front page advertisements in The Times of India (across India), Hindu and a few Hindi newspapers.

The campaign was rolled out on November 6 when India tuned in to watch Sachin Tendulkar play the last series of his sports career. The new brand identity of STAR Sports is a metallic star with an explosive incandescent swoosh symbolising the authority and passion of sports.

With this rebranding, the dedicated cricket channel of the network, STAR Cricket, will be called Star Sports 3, which will now be a 24x7 Hindi sports channel. The packaging of the channel will also be in Hindi. STAR Sports has seen success in Hindi commentary with Hindi now accounting for 70 per cent share of all viewership in the recently concluded CLT20 series.

In an official communiqué, Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, says, "Cricket is too big to be confined to just one channel. We will cover more of it, have wider coverage, go deeper, use multiple languages and take it beyond television. The new brand is also about showcasing our commitment to other sports."

Shankar agrees that cricket will be central to the network's approach, while it will remain faithful to its role as a sports broadcaster and bring in the best of local and world sports to India, whether in soccer, hockey, badminton, tennis, F1 or the many other sports that fans in India are deeply passionate about.

The network has committed to spend about Rs 20,000 crore in sports; this is being used to fuel expansion of sports coverage in the country as well as in building new leagues including the Indian Super League in football, the Hockey India League and the Indian Badminton League. The broadcaster has also planned to launch a couple of non-live sports programming. One of these is a daily show, 'Star Power' (featuring comprehensive updates, insight and analysis). Launching on November 6, the 30-minute show will be telecast twice a day at 8:00 pm and 10:30 pm on STAR Sports 3, Monday to Sunday.

After the brand refresh, the network will carry over 5,000 hours of live sports content, including around 200 days of live cricket in a year.

As for the digital platform, it offers a variety of sports including cricket, soccer and F1, in HD quality streaming. A revolutionary timeline was launched some time back that gives the fan complete control of how he wants to view games, both live and catch-up.

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