Star India to launch wave of regional sports channels

Pay-television broadcaster Star India is set to launch its latest regional sports channel next month, amid plans for further offerings as it broadens its portfolio.

Star already offers sports channels in Hindi and Tamil, with Star Sports 1 Kannada to launch on November 16. The channel will serve the state of Karnataka, in which the Kannada language is mainly spoken.

Star Sports 1 Kannada will replace the broadcaster’s Hindi music channel, Channel V, which will be discontinued from the same date. The launch will coincide with the new season of the Indian Super League club football competition, which commences on November 17.

Like its fellow regional channels, Star Sports 1 Kannada will offer India cricket games and the likes of the Pro Kabaddi League and local Twenty20 cricket competition the Karnataka Premier League (KPL). The TelevisionPost website said Star is also in the process of acquiring local properties for the new channel.

A Star India official said: “We are going step by step. Our Tamil channel has been a huge success which is why we are launching a second regional channel in (the) south. Star Sports 1 Kannada will also have a local flavour to it in terms of content and programming.”

The Star official added that the broadcaster is planning further regional sports channels in at least three to four languages, including Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi.

TelevisionPost said one of these will be launched before the end of the year, with two more targeted before the 2018 Indian Premier League, which is set to commence on April 4.

Star last month ousted Sony Pictures Network India as the main rights-holder to the IPL after securing the global television and digital rights to the Twenty20 cricket competition.

Under an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Star paid Rs164.375bn (€2.18bn/$2.54bn) for all rights packages on offer across the five editions of the IPL, from 2018 to 2022.