Star to rejig sports network; Star Sports Tamil in the offing

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Star India is planning to launch a second regional sports channel, Star Sports Tamil, and standard definition (SD) versions of Star Sports Select HD1 and HD2. This is the first major rejig after the rebranding exercise in 2013 and Star India sports business CEO Nitin Kukreja’s exit.

Star Sports Tamil will replace Star Sports 4 while Star Sports Select 1 will replace Star Sports HD 4. Both Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD 4 are being discontinued from 28 May, the day Star Sports Tamil is scheduled to be launched. InsideSport has earlier reported that STAR Sports has surrendered its seven Sports Channel licenses.

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STAR India had returned to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seven of the 10 licenses acquired in 2015. The broadcaster had plans to launch regional sports channels. But, the licenses for seven regional sports channels Star Sports Malayalam, Star Sports Bangla, Star Sports Tamil, Star Sports Telugu, Star Sports Tamil HD, Star Sports Telugu HD and Star Sports Malayalam HD were surrendered by STAR India Private Limited. The Ministry of Information and Broadcast guidelines grand broadcasters the liberty to use the license to launch the channel with another name.

Star Sports Select 2 will replace FX, which is being discontinued from 15 June, along with FX HD and Star Movies Action. Star Sports Tamil and Star Sports Select 1 will tentatively launch on 28 May while Star Sports Select 2 will launch on 15 June, indiantelevision.com has quoted sources as saying. The Tamil channel will also be home to the Tamil Nadu Premier League, which was aired on Star’s second Tamil GEC Vijay Super last year.

There will be no change in Star Sports 1, 2 and 3 channels. Star Sports Tamil will be a mirror of Star Sports 1 and 3, which air India cricket apart from local leagues like the Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Super League, the Badminton League and Hockey India League. Star Sports Tamil will be the second regional channel from Star. Star Sports 3, India’s first regional sports channel in Hindi, was launched in November 2013.

Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 are premium channels dedicated to international sports events like the EPL, Bundesliga, Grand Slam Tennis and F1. Launched on 10 August, the two channels are available for free to distribution platforms until 31 July. Star Sports 4 was earlier positioned as the home of international sports. As per the new tariff regime, Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 are priced Rs 12 each, which is lower than other Star Sports HD channels, which are priced Rs 19 each.

The new tariff comes into force from 1 September subject to Madras High Court order on whether the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has the jurisdiction to frame tariff for TV channels. Star Sports network will now comprise five SD channels including two regional and five HD channels.

The broadcaster has rights to international and local events like the International Cricket Council (ICC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia, England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Asian Cricket Council (ACC); Pro Kabaddi League; Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL); the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), Premier League, Bundesliga; Badminton World Federation (BWF) events, Premier Badminton League (PBL); Hockey India League (HIL); Formula 1; Wimbledon, The French Open and International Premier Tennis League.

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