SportsCenter launches in English for S-E Asia, Mandarin for China

ESPN Star Sports yesterday introduced an Asian version of the popular sports news show Sportscenter.

SportsCenter will be Asia's first live half-hour sports news programme which will provide millions of television viewers with a crisp and incisive update of the latest happenings from international and regional sporting events, a company release states.

SportsCenter will be broadcast in English to viewers in Southeast Asia via ESPN Asia. A Mandarin language version will be broadcast on ESPN China, covering North Asia (China and Chinese Taipei).

ESS introduced a Hindi version of SportsCenter to viewers in India in April this year. Since its inception four months ago, SportsCenter Hindi has attracted 24 per cent of the cable viewing population, the release says.

Launched in 1979 in the US, SportsCenter is so popular that it is watched by more than 11 million people daily. Currently SportsCenter (International version) is watched by more than 150 million households outside the US on 20 international networks, the release says.

The Asian version will be following the US programme's original format of news, feature stories, analysis, clippings and guest commentators. ESS' managing director Rik Dovey said: "SportsCenter is a habit for millions of diehard sports fans across the world. With the introduction of a SportsCenter tailored to the viewing habits and tastes of our Asian audience, we will create millions more fans for this landmark show."

He also stated that that this initiative was a big step for the company as developing such a comprehensive news bureau was a major investment. The resources required to put out live news are considerable. And doing so in multiple languages only intensifies the effort required. In fact, with the introduction of the English and Mandarin services to Asia, ESPN STAR Sports has tripled its output of live sports news programming.

He further went on to explain that: "ESPN Star Sports has set itself the target of being Asia's complete sports provider and the benchmark by which all other networks measure themselves. To achieve this ESPN must continue to innovate and to provide viewers with what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, and in a format that is relevant to them."

SportsCenter will be aired daily from Monday to Friday. Bulletins will be telecast Live at 8 PM with a repeat at around 11:30 PM, then at 2:30 am , with one more repeat thereafter.

ESS'own 60,000 sq. ft production facility in Singapore will be producing SportsCenter. It will include sports news clippings from ESPN SportsCenter, SNTV (Sports News Television), - a leading provider of sports news clippings - and Sky Sports. SportsCenter will also include cricket clippings from ESS' portfolio of sporting rights - including the English Premier League, Formula One and the major tennis and golf events throughout the year.

For each live program broadcast of SportsCenter, ESS utilises a team of 40 veteran news and sports producers, presenters, technical/production assistants, editors and reporting crewreporters. The news team brings to Asia a wealth of knowledge and experience from the international and regional sports television scene sourced from all over the world, including ESPN's SportsCenter, TWI, BBC, ITV, New Delhi Television, Hong Kong's TVB, Australia's Channel 9 Network, TV South Africa and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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