Discovery set to launch sports channel, ex-ESS head Rajput at the helm

Bidding for the next cycle of IPL is all set to hot up as Discovery is set to launch its new sports channel, called D Sport.

Senior Discovery Network Asia Pacific hand Vijay Rajput is expected to drive the new sports channel. No confirmation for his role could be ascertained. However, Rajput’s LinkedIn profile shows his designation as Sr. Vice President & Head Affiliate Sales and Product Distribution at Discovery. Before his stint in Discovery, Rajput has had a 7 year 10 month stint with ESPN as Chief Operation Officer (COO).

Industry sources confirmed to InsideSport that the formal announcement for the new sports channel is expected shortly.

India’s sports broadcast market is now divided between two companies – Sony and Star. The third player, Ten Sports, was acquired by Sony from Zee Group last year. Zee is believed to have exited the sports broadcasting business because of rising cost of acquiring sports properties.

With the impending launch, the sports broadcast market will have a new player who could challenge the established order and bring in new programming.

New sporting properties which Discovery has globally acquired could also be presented to the Indian audience, opening a new platform for brands.

Discovery has made global moves to get into the sports broadcast market across the globe, with particular focus on Europe. It spent $170m for a 20% stake in Eurosport, with an option to take a controlling stake in two years. Discovery began investing in Eurosport in 2012, taking a minority stake.