ESPN Star Sports names Bates

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HONG KONG -- Asian joint-venture sports TV network ESPN Star Sports is preparing to launch a region-wide brand-building exercise as part of its new marketing communications initiative.

The move comes a little more than year after the merger of rival sports networks in Asia, ESPN and Star Sports, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's Star TV.

The Singapore-based company has awarded the account, which includes corporate branding and developing and maintaining a Web site, to various units of the Bates Group. This is the first time the company has coordinated its marketing and advertising efforts. ESPN previously used Ogilvy & Mather on an ad-hoc basis in difference markets across the region.

The deal, which kicks in immediately, includes awarding media buying responsibilities to Hong Kong-based Zenith Media for all ESPN Star Sports in Asia.

Bates Advertising, Taiwan will handle all creative for the Taiwan market, Bates Graffix will deal with corporate identity and brand guidelines development for the joint venture ESPN Star Sports and the separate ESPN and Star Sports channels, XM Asia will develop and maintain the Web site and 141 will provide sales promotion and direct marketing support.

ESPN Star Sports' major market, India, is excluded from the Bates Group deal. HTA and Contact Advertising have been appointed to handle India.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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