ESPN reportedly pitching for Star News' sports bulletins post divorce from NDTV

NEW DELHI: ESPN is understood to be negotiating with Star India to supply it sports news for Star News when the Rupert Murdoch company takes full editorial control of the news channel post 31 March, 2003.

According to sources in Star, some preliminary talks have been held on the issue as it makes sense, considering ESPN does generate news relating to sporting events for its own consumption.

ESPN already has a working relationship with Star through the joint venture, ESPN Star Sports (ESS), where both ESPN, a Disney group company, and Star, a News Corp company, have equal equity stakes.

ESPN India's country head Manu Sawhney was not available for comments to on the issue of sports news.

According to the sources, Star News, which is building up a news team of its own, may also stand to gain if the talks with ESPN fructify into something concrete as then it would not have to worry about an important component of news and it would also be "all in the family."

However, the full details of what ESS can offer to Star News is not yet known. But what is known certainly is that ESPN is also hiring people with journalistic background these days. It can be for its own site or it can also be for the proposed alliance with Star News for supplying it with sports news. Or, it could be a combination of both.

ESPN's daily news bulletin Sportsline has been one of the channel's most popular properties, and has been appreciated for its slick packaging and presentation.

Sportsline was launched in April 2001 and has been hosted from its inception by Dorain Shahidi. Co-presenter Poonam Sharma came on board early this year.


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