Fox Sports (formerly ESPN Star Sports) is a group of television sports channels broadcast to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, currently operated by The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. It also oversees Fox Sports operations in Taiwan and a version of Star Sports available in Mainland China and South Korea. As ESPN Star Sports, it was also operated in South Asia, but Star India took over the Indian business in 2013.
Originally launched in the early 1990s as Star Sports (earlier Prime Sports) and ESPN by Star TV and ESPN International respectively, both parties have agreed to combine their operations in Asia in October 1996. News Corporation took the full control of the venture in 2012, and relaunched the channels in two phases in January 2013 and August 2014, respectively.
Star Sports was originally launched as Prime Sports on 21 August 1991. Star TV, based in Hong Kong, operated the channel in partnership with TCI in the United States, which owned Prime-branded regional sports channels there. The channel was broadcast across the continent of Asia, reaching from the Far East to the Middle East, as with AsiaSat 1's footprint. Star TV has since regionalized the channel.
ESPN was originally a part of the so-called "Gang of Five", which was a consortium that was set up to compete against Star TV in the region. The others in the group were CNN International, HBO, TVB [with TVB Superchannel] and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation [with Australia Television International]) The consortium's channels were initially transmitted via Palapa satellite but were later also added to Apstar satellite.
Operations combined as ESPN Star Sports
ESPN and Star Sports were competing for each other across Asia, but their businesses were making a loss. In October 1996, both channels have agreed to combine their operations in the region. The resulting joint venture, later named ESPN Star Sports, was to be headquartered in Singapore (where ESPN's operations in Asia was based in).
On 16 January 1998, a version of Fox Sports was launched in the Middle East, as carried by Star Select. This apparently replaced Star Sports in the region.
Relaunch as Fox Sports
On 6 June 2012, it was announced that News Corporation would buy ESPN International's share in ESPN Star Sports. Later, Star India took over ESPN Star Sports' businesses in India, and relaunched all of its sports channels under the Star Sports brand on 6 November 2013.
In October 2012, Fox Football Channel was launched in Malaysia. The channel ceased transmission in 2015.
On 28 January 2013, ESPN and ESPN HD were relaunched as Fox Sports and Fox Sports Plus HD in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. The regional version of ESPNews was relaunched as Fox Sports News, and SportsCenter Asia was relaunched as Fox Sports Central.
On 15 August 2014, Star Sports was rebranded as Fox Sports 2, and Fox Sports Plus HD was renamed Fox Sports 3 (or Fox Sports HD in Vietnam). The corresponding HD and SD versions of all three channels were also launched.
The relaunch of ESPN Star Sports as Fox Sports did not affect much of East Asia, as a version of Star Sports broadcast to Mainland China and South Korea kept the brand, and instead, the version of ESPN for Mainland China was renamed as Star Sports 2 on 1 January 2014.
ESPN International has since refocused on its digital business building out online properties for football (ESPNFC), cricket (CricInfo), Formula 1 (ESPNF1), and Australian rugby union (ESPNscrum), and established partnership with Multi Screen Media in India (Sony ESPN TV channel), TV5 Network in the Philippines (ESPN5 programming division), Tencent in Mainland China (a dedicated ESPN section at qq.com), and Mediacorp in Singapore (local ad sales only for the ESPN website through its Partner Network division).
Following Disney's acquisition of Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific, it is expected that Disney will relaunch the ESPN brand in Asia.
- Fox Sports (formerly ESPN)
- Fox Sports 2 (formerly Prime Sports and Star Sports)
- Fox Sports 3 (formerly ESPN HD and Fox Sports Plus HD)
"Fox Football Channel" redirects here. For the Aussie rules channels in Australia, see Fox Footy and Fox Footy Channel. For the association football channels in the United States, see Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus.
- Fox Sports News (formerly ESPNews): The channel was first launched as ESPNews in November 2009 in Singapore on Singtel's Mio TV, and later expanded to other areas, including Hong Kong, where it was launched in August 2011 on PCCW's Now TV. The channel was renamed as Fox Sports News on 28 January 2013. The channel was gradually discontinued in 2017: It ceased broadcasting on 1 April 2017 in most areas but continued until 24 April in Hong Kong, 3 May in Malaysia, and 31 May in Taiwan.
- Fox Football Channel: The channel was launched in October 2012 in Malaysia. It is programming mainly consisted of association football matches and shows. It ceased broadcasting in 2015.
The individual regional variations of Fox Sports channels include:
- Hong Kong: Additionally, a schedule variant is offered to Hong Kong Cable Television customers due to broadcasting rights issues.
- Malaysia and Brunei: This variant does not provide coverage of field hockey events.
- Philippines: This variant does not broadcast UFC events on FOX Sports but can still watch via FOX+ app and web.
In addition to regions above, Fox Sports' regional headquarters in Singapore also oversees Fox Sports channels in Taiwan, which is transmitted by Fox Networks Group Taiwan and produced from the studios in Taipei. It also oversees a version of Star Sports broadcast to Mainland China and South Korea, and Star Sports 2 (formerly known as ESPN until 31 December 2014) broadcast to Mainland China.
In South Korea, Fox Sports is partnered with JTBC, which operates JTBC3 Fox Sports. As ESPN Star Sports, it has previously partnered with MBC (MBC ESPN) from 2001 until July 2010, and SBS (SBS ESPN) from December 2010 until 2013.
Broadcast rights for various sports properties contain territorial limitations and in a lot of instances, the rights indicated below may not pertain to all Asian territories in which Fox Sports operates.