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Fox Sports is a group of television sports channels broadcast to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
Fox Sports formerly ESPN Star Sports is 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 Star Sports version 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, both parties have agreed to combine their operations in Asia in October 1996. News Corporation took full control of the venture in 2012 and relaunched the channels in two phases in January 2013 and August 2014.
Star Sports was originally launched as Prime Sports on 21 August 1991. Based in Hong Kong, Star TV operated the channel in partnership with TCI in the United States, which owned Prime-branded regional sports channels there. The channel was broadcast across Asia's continent, reaching from the Far East to the Middle East, as with AsiaSat 1s footprint. Star TV has since regionalized the channel.
ESPN was originally a part of the so-called "Gang of Five", a consortium 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 channels were initially transmitted via Palapa satellite but were later also added to Apstar satellite.
ESPN and Star Sports were competing for each other across Asia, but their businesses were making a loss. In October 1996, both channels agreed to combine their operations in the region. Later named ESPN Star Sports, the resulting joint venture was headquartered in Singapore where ESPN's operations in Asia were based.
On 16 January 1998, a version of Fox Sports was launched in the Middle East, as carried by Star Select. This replaced Star Sports in the region.
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,8 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,16 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 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.
In addition to the regions above, Fox Sports regional headquarters in Singapore also oversees Fox Sports channels in Taiwan, 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. In many instances, the rights indicated below may not pertain to all Asian territories in which Fox Sports operates.