Star Sports to restrict Asia Cup broadcast to three languages

MUMBAI: Star Sports will restrict the broadcast of Asia Cup 2018 to three languages English, Hindi, and Tamil since it doesn’t have sports channels in other languages and the duration of the six-nation tournament is short.

The event will see Asian neighbours – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the winner of Asia Cup 2018 qualifier battle it out to become the champions of Asia. The tournament will be held from 15-28 September.

Star Sports CEO Gautam Thakar said that the Asia Cup marks the beginning of an exciting cricket calendar for the broadcaster. The cricket calendar includes India’s home series against West Indies and Australia in addition to an away series against New Zealand.

The big one, though, is the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England. The Asia Cup is seen as a preparation for next year’s World Cup.

Elucidating the reasons for restricting the broadcast to three languages, Thakar said that the Asia Cup is of short duration and since Star does not have other regional language sports channels the move to have more regional feeds does not make sense. An in and out situation for a regional sports feed will not work, he added.

Thakar also noted that the broadcaster is looking at sports channels in Kannada and Bangla. It is awaiting regulatory approvals to launch new channels. He is excited about the growth potential for regional languages in cricket and sports and noted that a few years back Hindi commentary and content did not exist.

On the coverage front, he noted that the broadcaster has learned a lot from the IPL and one key learning was the success of the wraparound show ‘Dugout’.

That initiative will also be seen during the Asia Cup but the broadcaster might rebrand the initiative for the Asia Cup as it is a 50 over format as opposed to the IPL which was a Twenty20 event. The 50 over format being of a longer match duration will offer more opportunities for storytelling. Former Australian batsman Dean Jones has been roped in by the broadcaster to be a part of the initiative.

Star Sports, meanwhile, has rolled out the ad campaign for Asia Cup. The ‘Knock Knock’ campaign is based on the creative insight that one’s neighbour’s success will always be a consistent reminder of their own failure.

The film subtly takes on the age-old “Neighbour vs Neighbour” rivalry, and brings alive the neighbourhood rivalry in a way that the broadcaster said is bound to leave viewers with a smile on their faces. The campaign aims to ignite a flurry of emotions – pride, merriment, euphoria and most importantly the love of cricket across the sub-continent.

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