Star India acquires football rights and seeks channel launch

The Star India broadcast subsidiary of media company 21st Century Fox has acquired the rights to the Calcutta Football League and IFA Shield tournament and plans to launch a Bengali sports channel, according to the IndianTelevision.com website.

Star has acquired the football rights for its Bengali movie channel Jalsha in a bid to expand the footprint of the platform.

The CFL, which is the oldest football league in Asia, commenced broadcasting on Jalsha Movies on September 8. The league is organised by the Indian Football Association, the governing body of the sport in West Bengal, and Jalsha Movies will also broadcast the IFA Shield cup competition from this season.

Meanwhile Star India’s plan to launch a Bengali sports channel has emerged as it looks to expand beyond cricket into sports such as hockey and kabaddi. Producing sports programming in regional languages is said to be part of the plan.

“Star India is looking forward to working with sports authorities and boards, and making local Bengali sports like swimming, hockey and football popular,” a source said.