Friday, July 18, 2014

TOLDJA! StarSat adds StarTimes Sport 2; FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 replacing Setanta Africa and Setanta Action from 8 August.

On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat is adding StarTimes Sport 2 as a new TV channel on channel 241 from Saturday 19 July, while the Setanta Africa and Setanta Action channels are being rebranded to FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 respectively from 8 August.

As part of the new sports channel addition and rebranding, StarSat is changing the channel numbers of its sports channels which will now be located between channel numbers 241 and 251.

FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 will become channels 244 and 245 from Saturday 19 July, although the name change from Setanta will only happen from 8 August.

On Wednesday TV with Thinus reported about major sports channels additions and changes coming to StarSat when news leaked about major sports content developments at the Woodmead based satellite pay-TV provider.

StarSat is however not adding a StarTimes Sport 1 or StarSports 1 channel but getting FOX Sports (and the content produced for those new channels), and then a StarTimes Sport 2 channel.

StarSat says StarTimes Sport 2 will carry "diverse sporting programmes" although a schedule has not yet been released.

The StarTimes Sport 2 channel is also launching in the rest of Africa as a new TV channel created by China's StarTimes Media specifically for Africa, as well as a new StarTimes Swahili channel that will launch in August.

StarTimes Sport 2 will show soccer like the International Champions Cup, European Qualifiers, French Ligue 1 and the Summer Football season.

ODM tells TV with Thinus StarTimes Sport 2 will run for 24 hours per day.

FOX International Channels (FIC) which didn't respond with answers to a media enquiry TV with Thinus made earlier in the week regarding the sports channels that FIC provides to StarSat, will be rebranding Setanta Africa and Setanta Action to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.

FOX Sports will broadcast French Ligue 1, Ederevise, Belgium Pro League, FormulaE, English Championship, Liga MX, Major League Soccer and Coupe de la Ligue.

FOX Sports 2 launched in America a year ago in August 2013.

TV with Thinus previously surmised that a channel like FuelTV on StarSat might be changed to FOX Sports 2, but FOX International Channels at the time said there was no plans to change FuelTV into FOX Sports.

Of course that's true - it was the Setanta channels, not FuelTV getting changed.

FOX Sports 1 will focus mainly on soccer, broadcasting more than 2 000 hours of content every year with live coverage of major soccer leagues. FOX Sports 1 will also carry daily news programming and a wide range of football-related magazine shows and other soccer content. 

FOX Sports 1 will also bring subscribers live matches sport highlights, news, self-produced programmes, special programmes and exercise education. FOX Sports 1 will cover different sport disciplines such as soccer, tennis, rugby, golf, motor-racing, cricket and extreme sports.

FOX Sports 2 will offer international sports, including Euroleague Basketball, Formula E Motor Racing, DTM touring cars, National Rugby League, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, kickboxing and boxing. 

In addition FOX Sports 2 will show extra football content, including delayed coverage of league games, as well as alternative live coverage from competitions such as the Spanish Copa del Rey and additional club channels.

"We are thrilled with the launch of FOX Sports in Africa which is the culmination of a process that began last year with the acquisition of Setanta Africa in October 2013," says Alessandro Tucci, the seenior vice president and general manager of FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) in a statement.

"We're very excited about StarTimes Sport 2," says Ian Woodrow, StarSat's head of content in another statement.

"StarTimes Sport 2 will afford subscribers opportunities to catch some of the leading sporting events from  around the globe. We believe it will inspire our subscribers to get moving and experience some of the best movers and shakers that the sporting world has to offer."

The addition of StarTimes Sport 2 and the rebrand-addition of FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 will help to bolster StarSat's sports offering to existing and potential StarSat subscribers which has been lackluster since it launched as TopTV in May 2010.

Before ODM launched TopTV in 2010, it promised a 24-hour TV news channel and a TopSport channel, but ODM backtracked shortly before the pay-TV service's launch and said the news channel would no longer be happening, and the TopSport channel later.

The self-compiled sports channel never materialised and ODM never acquired sports rights for other channels like its Top One channel.

Although ODM added channels like Setanta Africa, FuelTV, Setanta Action, Extreme Sports, Euro Sport News and others to TopTV and later StarSat, it also lost channels like Manchester United's fan channel, MUTV, and remained unable the past four years to come up with a strong sports, or sports channel offering.

StarTimes Sport 2, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 now signal the first real start from ODM and its Chinese content and investment partner, StarTimes South Africa, to produce and funnel real sports content and coverage to StarSat subscribers, combined with the help of FOX International Channels.