Mumbai : Star India, the media network that currently runs six sports channels in India, will be adding two more to its bouquet from February 1. According to sources, the network is looking at launching two high definition (HD) channels in the run up to the ICC World Cup commencing February 14.
One of these channels will have a Hindi feed, while the other will be in English. The network already has two HD channels – Star Sports HD1 and Star Sports HD2. The new channels are to be named Star Sports HD3 and Star Sports HD4, the former having Hindi feed. With this, the HD sports bouquet will mirror Star India’s standard definition (SD) bouquet.
In 2014, the network got licenses to launch three more sports channels in the country. Sources reveal that the third license could be used to launch an SD channel that will show highlights of major tournaments and archival content.
Star India in October won the media rights to all the ICC tournaments in the 2015-23 cycle. STAR India won the bid at $1.98 billion (Rs 11,880 crore) sources said, 80% more than the previous cycle’s $1.1 billion. The other bidders from India were Multi Screen Media, Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ Ten Sports and Nimbus’ Neo Sports.
The network is the incumbent satellite broadcaster for ICC events, having won these in 2007 for the eight-year cycle up to 2015. The last tournament in the current cycle is the 2015 ICC World Cup.
The renewed contract contains 18 tournaments, including two ICC Cricket World Cups (2019 and 2023), two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments (2017 and 2021) and two ICC World Twenty20 tournaments (2016 and 2020).
Apart from the ICC, STAR India holds rights to the cricket boards of three countries: India (2012-18), England (2013-19) and Australia (2013-17). In addition, the network is shelling out Rs 203 crore for the sponsorship of Team India for the 2014-17 period. It has paid the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) Rs 26 crore for title sponsorship rights of India matches played between October 2013 and March 2014.
Among other sports, it airs domestic leagues like the Hero Indian Super League (football), International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), The Indian Badminton League, Hero Hockey India League and the Pro Kabaddi League. It also airs the English Premier League.