Sports fans across Asia will no longer see that familiar ESPN logo in the corner of their screens. News Corp, which bought out ESPN from their joint-venture last November, has rebranded ESPN-Star Sports as Fox Sports.
As of today, it is Fox Sports that will be beamed into over 100 million households across 16 countries in Asia, according to a statement from Fox International Channels.
In addition to the flagship Fox Sports channel, there will be a high-definition channel Fox Sports Plus (HD); the 24-7 sports news channel, Fox Sports News; the broadband network, Fox Sports Play and the mobile service, Fox Sports Mobile, the statement said.
However, in India STAR Sports, STAR Cricket and Star Cricket HD channels will remain unchanged.
“Fox Sports further strengthens FOX International Channels Asia’s portfolio,” Ward Platt, President of FOX International Channels, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, said. “Fox Sports is already the leading sports network in the US, UK, Australia, Latin America and Europe. We’ll leverage the brand’s leading position around the world to benefit the channel here in Asia.”
Peter Hutton, Senior Vice President, Sports at FOX International Channels, said: “Sports has always been a driver genre in the TV business and with the addition of Fox Sports to FIC Asia’s portfolio, we are well poised to further our position as Asia’s leading network,’ “We are looking to launch even more premium sports content in the near future and are committed to making Fox Sports the premiere destination for passionate sports fans.”
The change in brand means there will some changes to the programming as well. Fox’s sports news programme, Fox Sports Central, will replace SportsCenter and will be aired on weeknights at 7:30pm HKT/SGT.
There are also new shows in the works, such as the ‘Thursday Fight Night’, which will focus on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and ‘ABL Friday Basketball’, featuring the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). However, all these shows will not necessarily be broadcast across all the regions in Asia.
Fans will also continue to get the same events that they used to on ESPN, including cricket, the English Premier League, the La Liga; Formula One, Grand Slam tennis, the golf Majors and popular American sports such as the basketball and baseball.
Online, espnstar.com has been replaced by foxsportsasia.com.