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Star to rejig sports network; Star Sports Tamil, Select SD versions in the offing

MUMBAI: 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.

According to an industry source, Star Sports Tamil 1 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 source further added that 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. The Tamil channel will also be home to the Tamil Nadu Premier League, which aired on Star’s second Tamil GEC Vijay Super last year.

Further, Star Sports 3 and HD 3 are being re-named Star Sports Hindi 1 and Star Sports Hindi 1 HD. According to the source, there will be no change in Star Sports 1 and 2.

Star Sports Tamil 1 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, Premier Badminton League and Hockey India League.

Incidentally, the move comes close on the heels of the broadcaster surrendering its seven regional sports TV licences.

Star Sports Tamil will be the second 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.

Incidentally, 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 company 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; 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.