Star Sports to telecast Olympics on 8 channels

(From left to right) Badminton legend Prakash Padukone, shooter Anjali Bhagwat, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, ockey player Viren Rasquinha and swimmer Rehan Poncha during a promotional event ahead of Rio Olympics 2016 in Mumbai
For the first time ever, The Olympics (Rio Olympics 2016) will be telecast on eight channels in India. Star Sports, the sports broadcast arm of Star India, will be using all its eight sports channels – four standard definition and four high definition, to give a 24x7 coverage of the games. The telecast will be available in two languages, Hindi and English.

The four standard definition channels (Star Sports 1, 2, 3, and 4) will have distinct feeds, and the respective HD channels (Star Sports HD 1, 2, 3 and 4) will mirror the feeds in high definition. While Star Sports 1 and 4 and the respective HD feeds will have English language telecast, the rest of the channels will have Hindi coverage. 

Nitin Kukreja, CEO, Star Sports said: “Star Sports has been at the forefront of establishing a multi-sport culture in India. While Cricket continues to reach new heights, Indian sports fans have already shown their love for Kabaddi and Football. The Olympics are the pinnacle of a multi-sports event, and as India prepares to send its largest ever contingent, Star Sports is leaving no stone unturned to provide the most comprehensive access to Indian sports fans.”

STAR OF OLYMPICS
  • Star Sports will be using all its eight sports channels — four standard definition and four high definition — to give a 24x7 coverage of the games

     
  • The telecast will be available in two languages, Hindi and English

     
  • The four standard definition channels (Star Sports 1, 2, 3, and 4) will have distinct feeds

     
  • Its respective HD channels (Star Sports HD 1, 2, 3 and 4) will mirror the feeds in high definition

Star Sports has also exclusively empanelled a panel of international and Indian Olympians as well as sports experts who will share, analyse and connect with the Indian viewers as live actions unfolds in Rio. This select list of sports personalities includes Ian Thorpe, Prakash Padukone, Anjali Bhagwat, Viren Rasquinha and Rehan Poncha.

The network also will have two anchors at the venue in Rio, interviewing players and athletes. The telecast will begin at 3.30 pm with a pre-event show and go to live coverage at 4.30 pm, continuing up to 5 am the next morning. The efforts are towards popularising the games in India, considering the previous telecast record hasn’t been great and not all events in the Olympics were telecast in the country. (The rights for the 2012 Olympics were with the joint venture entity ESPN Star Sports. The media rights were retained by Star India after the JV broke up the same year.)

At the same time, Star’s video streaming platform Hotstar will also provide coverage of the Olympics, with 14 live feeds consistently on the Olympics video player, available to users on demand through the event. Viewers will be able choose the sports and players they want to follow and get instant updates on the medal tally and player performance. 

Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar said: “While Hotstar is covering Olympics for the first time, we are excited that we are bringing an all-round coverage of the Olympics for the Indian digital user that will be the best in the world. Like in our coverage of other sporting events, our focus will be not just on making every moment of the Olympics available to the fans but also provide them the ability to create personalised, interactive experiences that allow them to follow and watch what is of unique interest to them.”

With a 24x7 programming strategy dedicated to the Olympics across the network, Star India has a huge advertising inventory at its disposal. However, Kukreja informs that the ad-sales strategy is not to sell commercial time as TVC’s (television ads) only. “Look at the value derived by Barclays for associating with the English Premier League. We will have a limited number of sponsors, who will be able to derive maximum advantage from their association with Star for the Olympics. We will probably have single digit (number of) sponsors on the property. Some are on board, some we are yet to finalise,” he said.

Mohan adds that Hotstar will follow a similar strategy, and sponsors will be looking at deriving advantage from both the TV and digital telecast of the Games.

In January this year, Neerav Tomar-led IOS Sports and Entertainment was awarded the mandate for getting commercial partners for the Indian contingent to Rio Olympics. The firm hopes to get between Rs 9 crore and 12 crore in sponsorship/partnership value. This is a huge mark up from the 2012 campaign when the Indian contingent had two sponsors – Amul and Samsung — and the total sponsorship value amounted to not more than Rs 2 crore.