STAR TV finds partners in vid game b'cast

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HONG KONG -- News Corp. subsidiary STAR TV on Wednesday said that it has partnered with sister company British Sky Broadcasting and U.S. satellite giant DirecTV to invest in and broadcast a professional video-game league competition tied closely to Asia.

STAR said that the Championship Gaming Series, which it claims is the world's first such competition, will offer cash prizes in a series of online qualifiers in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, held in the run-up to the world championship in Los Angeles in November.

Andy Reif, commissioner of the Los Angeles-based CGS, formed this year, said that Asia's huge gaming population is pivotal to the growth and success of league.

The Asian gaming market is expected to show a profit of $23 billion in 2009, up from the current $6.3 billion, U.S. accounting giant Price WaterhouseCoopers said in a recent report.

"We look forward to developing the popularity of this sport and we are confident that with its vast resources across (Asia), Star will play an integral part in the launch and ongoing success of the league," Reif said in a statement released by STAR.

The CGS league will distribute its competition content to more than 100 million households worldwide via DirecTV in North America and Latin America, BSkyB in the U.K. and STAR in Asia and Australia.

The league's founding partners are computer manufacturer Dell, the soft drink Mountain Dew, the Microsoft gaming console Xbox 360 and IGN, a unit of Fox Interactive Media that provides Internet media and services related to video games.

Star said it will produce CGS content targeting its 300 million viewers in Asia, but also will have access to footage from CGS events from around the world.

"We believe that the league's reality-competition format and vigorous elimination process will have a mass appeal and provide viewers -- gamers and nongamers alike -- an unprecedented viewing experience," STAR COO Laureen Ong said.
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