|Network||Fox Sports International|
(The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia))
|Slogan||We Are Fox Sports (2013-2014)|
Where Sport Goes Boom! (2014-2016)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
(downscaled to 16:9 480i/576i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific|
(Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International)
|Closed||16 November 2020 (SD feed, Malaysia)|
1 January 2021 (Taiwan)
Fox Sports (formerly ESPN STAR Sports) is a pan-Asian pay television network broadcasting in Asia, currently operated by Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia). It also oversaw 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 early 1990s as STAR Sports (earlier Prime Sports) and ESPN by Star TV and ESPN International respectively, both parties 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 have since regionalised the channel to serve its huge viewerships.
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.
ESPN and STAR Sports were competing with each other across Asia, but their businesses were making loss. In October 1996, both channels 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 had been based).
On 16 January 1998, a version of Fox Sports was launched in the Middle East, as carried by Star Select. This apparently replaced ESPN STAR Sports in the region, but the pan-Asian version will still be available via the AsiaSat and Palapa satellites.
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.
On 28 January 2013, ESPN and ESPN HD was 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 10 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 until 31 March 2020), 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).
On 31 March 2020, the website of Fox Sports Asia merged into and redirected to global version of ESPN website.
On September 18, 2020, Disney announced that it would shut down Fox Sports operations in Taiwan at end of 2020. It was later revealed that operations in Taiwan would end on January 1, 2021 following years on losing money in the region.
The individual regional variations of Fox Sports channels include:
It also overseed 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 was partnered with JTBC until 11 March 2020, which operated JTBC3 Fox Sports (now known as JTBC Golf&Sports). As ESPN Star Sports, it has previously partnered with MBC (MBC ESPN (now known as MBC Sports+)) from 2001 until July 2010, and SBS (SBS ESPN (now known as SBS Sports)) 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.