Anil Jayaraj quits Star Sports Network; Anup Govindan roped in as successor

Anil Jayaraj had joined the Star Network from Pidilite where he was holding the position of the Chief Marketing Officer.

One of India’s leading sports broadcasting networks, Star Sports Network, is reportedly all set to have a hierarchical change as their lynchpin and Executive Vice-President (EVP) of Advertising and Sales Anil Jayaraj, has decided to call it a day on his association with the company.

This news came into the fray earlier this morning after Anil Jayaraj decided to quit Star Sports Network following a six and a half years span with the broadcasting giant. As per reports, Anup Govindan, Senior Vice-President and National Advertising Sales Head of Star Sports is the chosen one to replace the outgoing Jayaraj. He will take over in September when Anil Jayaraj officially leaves office.

Anil Jayaraj had joined the Star Network from Pidilite where he was holding the position of the Chief Marketing Officer. Jayaraj, who started his career as Marketing Manager at Castrol way back in 1997, has now become a stalwart in the marketing industry. He also worked as a Marketing Director at BP – Marine and Energy Lubricants, followed by being the CMO at Pidilite, before making the all-important move to the Star Sports Network.

His premier objective was always to invest and target market areas that have not been explored yet. Hence, the importance given to other games than cricket, the activities of commercialising and branding were all initiated and successful under his able guidance. During his time at Star Sports, following his vision, the network’s ad revenue jumped from under Rs 1000 crore per annum in 2015 to over Rs 3000 crore in 2021 across all broadcasted sports including cricket, kabaddi, tennis, football, badminton and F1 racing.

After last year’s spate of resignations, this is the first major change in Star Sports’ hierarchy. Last year saw a major change in positions and officials leaving the company during the ongoing pandemic. None bigger than the CEO of Star India himself, Uday Shankar. He decided to quit the company during the IPL in October. He was followed by four other board members who also left the company during the October-November period. The list included Gautam Thakur, who joined the organisation in 2018 and bagged 5-year broadcasting rights for the IPL from Sony for a mammoth $2.5 billion. Other EVPs who left were Rajiv Mathrani, Ashok Namudri and Rupali Fernandes.

Anup Govindan has been with Star for over eight years. At the company, he is responsible for sports ad revenue across broadcast, on-ground and digital platforms. Govindan was earlier associated with ESPN Star Sports as the Senior Director of Advertising Sales from 2002-11, before making the jump to Star India Network after a two-year sabbatical in 2013.

It will be interesting to see Star shape up following Jayaraj’s exit and how Anup Govindan can fill in the void left by him. Also, the challenge is much bigger now as Sony Sports Network has risen enormously and is ready to eclipse Star Sports into becoming the premier sports broadcasting network in the country. 

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