18 March 2010, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysians will enjoy more local sports content when Astro Arena, the country's first local sports channel goes on air on 26 March 2010. Astro Arena (Channel 801), a 24 hour local sports channel will be delivered predominantly in Bahasa Malaysia and available to all ASTRO customers under its Family Package.
Dato' Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Youth and Sports and Mr Ralph Marshall, Group Chief Executive Officer AAAN (ASTRO) graced the launch event and witnessed the signing of the Strategic Alliance between ASTRO and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) where both parties will collaborate and promote Malaysian sporting events regionally and internationally through the broadcast of these events on Astro Arena. Dato' Rohana Rozhan, Chief Executive Officer of Measat Broadcast Network Systems represented ASTRO while YAM Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Jaa'far, President of OCM represented OCM in the signing.
Dato' Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Youth and Sports commended Astro Arena for its role in helping to broadcast local sports which supports the government's aspiration to instill sporting excellence and promote healthy sporting lifestyle amongst Malaysians. He added, "The launch of Astro Arena is timely and in line with the Ministry of Education's recent announcement in making sports as a school subject, as opposed to a co-curriculum activity. Astro Arena through its content and on-ground events can further help develop a strong local sports identity among local communities and motivate the younger generation to take up sports."
Dato' Rohana Rozhan says, "In our continuous efforts to be the No.1 choice for Malaysian households, ASTRO is committed to invest towards expanding and strengthening our products and offering through the introduction of innovative features such as High Definition (HD) services, digital video recording and IPTV connectivity. In our content and customer experience, ASTRO continues to be ahead of the curve by evolving with innovation to deliver a strong sports value proposition of bringing the best of international and local sports to Malaysian sports fans. Astro Arena meets the unfulfilled demand for local sports content via a holistic offering of live coverage of major regional and local sporting events, in-depth and extensive news coverage of matches and development of sports and athletes in Malaysia."
Malaysians are able to follow the nation's sporting heroes closely and see how they fare in some of the regional sports events on Astro Arena, especially in the upcoming events this year such as Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Asian Games in Guangzhou and the first Youth Olympics in Singapore.
YAM Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Jaa'far, President of OCM said, "We are happy to be working together with ASTRO to provide more opportunities for the national sports associations and other local sporting bodies to have their sports news and events viewed by a bigger audience on ASTRO's platform. We hope Astro Arena will further boost the growth of the local sports industry and talents."
In making sports more appealing to the younger generation, Astro Arena has appointed Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Esther Cheah, Daniel Bego, Mohd. Hazizul Hasni Awang, R. Puvaneswaran, Mohd Aidil Zafuan, Mohd Zaquan Adha and P.Mariappan as channel ambassadors. These ambassadors will be involved in sports clinics and road shows to bring Astro Arena closer to the community. Alongside the live coverage of sports news and events, the channel will also feature stories of Malaysian sporting heroes to relive the past glories of sports.
Astro Arena completes ASTRO's Family Package with sports offering alongside entertainment, information and education. With Astro Arena, currently there are 29 ASTRO branded and affiliated channels and 10 sports channels, including 2 channels in High Definition and 1 channel for sports pay-per-view on the ASTRO platform.