Star India’s sports push

KOLKATA: In a bid to expand its footprint beyond film, Star India’s Bengali movie channel, Jalsha, has acquired exclusive broadcast rights of two football events: the Calcutta Football League (CFL) and IFA Shield Tournament.

The CFL, which enjoys the distinction of being the oldest football league in Asia, will be broadcast live on Jalsha Movies starting 8 September, 4:00 pm onward. The upcoming season of the prestigious IFA tourney too will be aired with the aim of ushering a new era in Bengal’s much loved sport.

When contacted, business head Jalsha Movies Kevin Vaz confirmed the news and added, “The acquisition of broadcast rights of CFL and IFA Shield is a step towards ensuring an even more engaging relationship with our viewers. We are excited to partner with IFA in making CFL a bigger extravaganza and we will bring in expertise from our sports channels to create a state-of-the-art product.”

While on the subject of sports, highly placed industry sources told this correspondent that Star India plans to launch a Bengali sports channel.

“Star India is looking forward to working with sports authorities and boards, and making local Bengali sports like swimming, hockey and football popular,” a source revealed.

Apparently, Star India is looking to expand beyond cricket into sports such as hockey and kabaddi, and producing sports programming in regional languages is part of the plan. “The channels’ focus on sporting activities clearly indicates that Star India is betting on this segment for growth,” pointed out the source.

A sports analyst observed, “Star India aims to make sports the new religion, looking at the fact that there are 650 million cricket-crazed consumers in India. Knowing this, the entertainment channel has earmarked a huge investment in sports.”

The shows will be marketed through a multi-media campaign with effective use of television, print, out of home and digital. The marketing campaign is focused on innovations as it will help in creating the required noise in the markets and also establish the shows.

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