ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has been very busy with an image overhaul exercise for its channels ESPN and Star Sports. Both channels have been operating in India since 1996, and according to ESPN Software India’s MD, RC Venkateish, it was time in the normal course of the channels’ evolution to don a new look. Since sister channel Star Cricket is only two years old, ESS has kept Star Cricket away from this rebranding initiative.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Venkateish said, “The entire template of the channels have been changed, and hence you would see new energy and vibrancy in both the channels. The core objective of this exercise was to keep ESPN and Star Sports relevant and attractive to our viewers.”
ESS officials are of the opinion that the timing was just right with at least four major sporting events, including the ICC Champions Trophy, Airtel Champions League Twenty20, Formula One Grand Prix and the Barclays Premier League, scheduled for September 2009. This is one reason why ESS is not planning any mass media marketing to support the on-air rebranding.
Venkateish explained, “The channels would be in any case getting significant traction now for the kind of content that is lined up this month. The core ESPN and Star Sports viewers hence would be able to consume the new look through the channels themselves. This was one reason why we have not planned anything else on the marketing front.”
An official communiqué informed that the rebranding exercise included rebranding Star Sports, developed with an aim to keep the brand fresh and relevant to young and diverse demographics; and launching the new presentation for both ESPN and Star Sports, conceptualised and developed to portray the dynamism of sports as communicated by these two strong and unique brands in their own signature style.
In addition, all five editions of SportsCenter across Asia get a new look as the sports news programme begins its broadcast with a fresh graphic presentation package.
The new on-air presentations of ESPN and Star Sports will be broadcast across its networks covering 24 countries. It includes on-air graphic elements such as brand idents, presenter idents, logo stings, bumpers, end pages, lower thirds, menu boards, backgrounds, monthly highlights and billboards.