Leonardo lands £1m sports channel launch

Leonardo has been appointed to handle the £1m launch of a new satellite channel devoted to American and Canadian sports.

The North American Sports Network (NASN) launches on December 1 on Sky Digital. The channel is a joint venture developed by investment vehicle Vulcan European Media (VEM) and Setanta Sport.

Leonardo won the business after a four-way pitch overseen by Roger Hall, marketing consultant to Setanta Sport. Optimedia is handling media planning and buying.

The campaign will include television advertising placed within Sky Sports programmes, press advertising in USA Today and specialist sports magazines, and online activity.

The new channel will carry programming from the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and US TV networks. Additional programming will be developed and originated in the UK by production company The Hospital. NASN will air a minimum of 15 live games per week alongside sports news and entertainment shows.

Both VEM and The Hospital are owned by the Paul Allen Group. Financier Paul Allen owns American football team the Seattle Seahawks and basketball team the Portland Trailblazers.

The channel is aimed at the estimated 500,000 Americans and Canadians living in the UK and Ireland, and domestic fans of American sports. Subscription to the NASN channel will cost £9.99 a month and cable distribution is planned for the first half of 2003.

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