Star Sports is a group of Indian multinational pay television sports channels owned by Disney Star (formerly Star India), a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company India. Formerly a part of ESPN Star Sports which had operations based in Singapore, Star India took over the Indian business and relaunched the channels under the unified Star Sports brand in 2013.
Hong Kong-based Star TV launched Prime Sports (later renamed Star Sports) in partnership with TCI, the American company that owns the Prime-branded regional sports channel. Following in the footsteps of Asiasat 7, the channel was broadcast across Asia, including India. Since then Star TV has regionalized the channel with different versions. Later, ESPN joined the region as a competitor to Star Sports.
ESPN and Star Sports were competing against each other across Asia. But in October 1996, both channels agreed to merge their operations in the region. As a result, a joint venture called ESPN Star Sports was formed, which will be headquartered in Singapore. The joint venture business in India was handled by its subsidiary, ESPN Software India Pvt.
In June 2012, it was announced that News Corporation would buy ESPN International’s stake in Star Sports. In 2013, Star India acquired ESPN Software India from ESPN Star Sports, but kept the ESPN brand for some time. ESPN International later formed a partnership with what is now Sony Pictures Networks India in October 2015 and relaunched Sony Kix as Sony ESPN in January 2016. Sony ESPN shut down in March 2020.
On 11 March 2013, Star Sports 2, a Hindi language sports channel, was launched as a sister channel to Star Sports, Star Cricket and ESPN.
On 6 November 2013, Star India relaunched its sports channels under the Star Sports brand: Star Sports became Star Sports 1; Star Cricket became Star Sports 3, a Hindi language channel; ESPN became Star Sports 4, a Tamil language channel; Star Cricket HD and ESPN HD became Star Sports HD 1 and HD 2 respectively. (Star Sports 3 and 4 were later renamed Star Sports 1 Hindi and 1 Tamil respectively.) This is in contrast to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, where Fox International Channel Asia Pacific relaunched ESPN as Fox Sports on 28 January 2013. And on 15 August 2014, Star Sports was rebranded as Fox Sports 2.
Star India had planned to replace the troubled Channel V India with Star Sports 1 Kannada on 16 November 2017, but delays in regulatory approvals meant the plan was shelved. Later, Star India replaced Channel V in the current iteration of Star Sports 3 on 15 September 2018 and launched Star Sports 1 Telugu and Star Sports 1 Kannada as new channels on 7 and 29 December 2018 respectively. Meanwhile, Kannada commentary of Star Sports’ coverage of the Indian Premier League was aired on Star Suvarna. Sanjog Gupta is the CEO of Star Sports.