|Launched||20 April 1991|
|Owned by||Sky plc|
|Picture format||576i, 16:9 (SDTV)
|Audience share||0.91% (1)
0.00% (all Active feeds) (February 2016 , BARB)
|Slogan||Your home of sport|
|Replaced||The Sports Channel|
Sky Cinema Box Office,
Sky Sports F1,
Sky Sports News HQ
|Sky||Channel 401 to 405
(1 SD/HD to 5 SD/HD)
Channel 409, 435-436, 439-440
(1 to 5)
|BFBS||Channel 5 and 6 (1 and 2)|
|Channel 501 to 505
(1 HD to 5 HD)
Channel 511 to 515
(1 to 5)
|Virgin Media Ireland||Channel 430
Channel 432 to 436
(1 HD to 5 HD)
Channel 402 to 406
(1 to 5)
|TalkTalk TV||Channel 402 to 406
(1 to 5)
|BT TV||Channel 437 and 438
(1 HD and 2 HD)
Channel 402, 403 and 406
(1, 2 and 5)
|Sky Go||Watch live
(UK and Ireland only)
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK only)|
Sky Sports is a group of sports television channels operated by the satellite pay-TV company Sky plc. Sky Sports is the dominant subscription television sports brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It has played a major role in the increased commercialisation of British sport since 1991, sometimes playing a large role in inducing organisational changes in the sports it broadcasts, most notably when it encouraged the Premier League to break away from The Football League in 1992.
Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are available as a premium package on top of the basic Sky package. These channels are also available as premium on nearly every satellite, cable and IPTV broadcasting system in the UK and Ireland. Sky Sports News HQ and Sky Sports Mix are both provided as part of basic packages. The Sky Sports network is managed by Barney Francis.
- 1 Before BSkyB
- 2 Sky Sports channels
- 2.1 "The early years (1991–1998)" - Sky Sports original channels
- 2.2 Expansion of Sky Sports channels
- 2.3 Temporary channels
- 2.4 At the Races
- 2.5 Defunct channels
- 3 Sky Digital (1998–present)
- 4 Technological advances
- 5 Programming
- 5.1 Football
- 5.1.1 Club football
- 5.1.2 International football
- 5.1.3 Supplementary programming
- 5.1.4 Football presenters, pundits and commentators
- 5.2 Cricket
- 5.3 Rugby Union
- 5.4 Rugby League
- 5.5 Motorsport
- 5.6 Tennis
- 5.7 Golf
- 5.8 Darts
- 5.9 Boxing
- 5.10 WWE
- 5.11 Gaelic Games
- 5.12 Ice Hockey
- 5.1 Football
- 6 Summary of sports rights
- 7 Previous coverage
- 8 Andy Gray and Richard Keys dismissals
- 9 References
- 10 External links
At launch on 5 February 1989, Sky Television operated Eurosport as a 50/50 joint venture with the European Broadcasting Union. The channel was marketed as one of Sky's four channels upon its launch, although additional sports programmes such as long-running international cricket coverage was occasionally broadcast on Sky Channel.
However, the service had encountered a legal challenge from rival sports channel Screensport, a joint venture between WH Smith Television and America's ESPN network. Subtitled as 'The European Sports Network', the channel was also available on the Astra satellite and available to early Sky viewers. Screensport's contention was that the involvement of the EBU with Sky's Eurosport channel had the effect of restricting and distorting competition in the sports market.
The European Commission agreed, and the Eurosport joint venture ceased broadcasting in early 1991. Screensport's victory was to be short-lived, as Eurosport would within months return under new ownership, this time with French broadcaster TF1 in Sky's place as 50% shareholder, and Screensport would eventually merge with the revived Eurosport in March 1993.
Sky's involvement with sports broadcasting did not end with its exit from the Eurosport venture, since following the merger of Sky Television with British Satellite Broadcasting in November 1990, it had acquired the name and assets from BSB's service "The Sports Channel".
The Sports Channel (1990–1991) 
|The Sports Channel|
|Launched||25 March 1990|
|Closed||20 April 1991 (Renamed by Sky Sports)|
|Owned by||BSB (1990)
Availability (At time of closure)
|Analogue||Marcopolo 1 11.93846|
The Sports Channel was part of the BSB channel line-up. launching in April 1990. The Sports Channel survived BSB's merger with Sky Television to become one of the five channels operated by the consolidated British Sky Broadcasting.
In the BSB years, it shared the same frequency with its underpromoted sister channel, The Computer Channel, which broadcast in the mornings when The Sports Channel was off-air.
The channel is seen as a presuccessor of Sky Sports, with Sky owning any archive recordings made by the channel. An example of this was a 1996 retro screening of Liverpool and Everton's 1991 FA Cup 4-4 draw between the sides. The commentary was taken from the original BSB Sports Channel alongside on-screen captions.
Sky Sports channels
"The early years (1991–1998)" - Sky Sports original channels
The Sports Channel was renamed Sky Sports on 20 April 1991, and began broadcasting to Sky viewers via the newly launched Astra 1B satellite on that date, alongside its existing transmissions on BSB's Marcopolo satellite.
The channel was sold as one of the major draws of the Sky system and initially aired sports such as rugby and golf in 1991, before acquiring rights to German and Italian league football in 1996 (both carried over from The Sports Channel).
The channel was initially encrypted but broadcast free-to-view, requiring an analogue VideoCrypt decoder, but no paid subscription, to be viewed. Since VideoCrypt decoders were only officially available within the UK, this measure was intended to prevent viewing of the service outside the UK and Ireland.
However, it was following the formation of the Premier League for the 1992/93 football season, believed to have been assisted by the promise of higher TV payments, that Sky Sports became well known. By bidding £304m, BSkyB beat the BBC and ITV to acquire the live and exclusive Premier League football broadcasting rights for the United Kingdom and Ireland for a five-year period. In doing so, they had taken live top-flight English league football from terrestrial and free-to-air television for the first time in its history.
At this point, Sky Sports became a subscription channel, available with a monthly subscription on a standalone basis, or at a reduced price if taken with Sky's movie channels.
Sky Sports 1 mainly broadcasts Soccer.
Sky Sports 2
Sky launched its second sport-dedicated channel, Sky Sports 2 on 19 August 1994, three years after the original channel launched on the Marcopolo satellite on BSB. As a result, "Sky Sports" was renamed as "Sky Sports 1".
Sky Sports Gold
Sky Sports Gold, a channel dedicated to classic sport, in a similar vein to ESPN Classic, launched on 1 November 1995. However, the channel ceased broadcasting after only a year on the air.
Sky Sports 3
On 16 August 1996, Sky Sports 3 was launched. The launch promotion involved many top sporting figures such as Dennis Bergkamp and Ryan Giggs to help the launch of the channel. Sky Sports also acquired the rights to Scottish football and the Coca-Cola Cup.
Expansion of Sky Sports channels
Since the launch of Sky Digital, the number of "Sky Sports channels" has increased from the three carried over from its analogue service.
Sky Sports News HQ
Sky Sports News HQ is a 24-hour sports news channel operated by Sky Sports. Sky Sports News launched on 1 October 1998, with Sky Digital becoming BSkyB's first digital only channel. On 10 April 2000, Sky Sports News relaunched as SkySports.com TV, a move to bring it tie into the launch of the SkySports.com website. However, the name was soon reverted to Sky Sports News.
The channel replaced Sky Sports Centre, a news show at 18:00, devoted to the key events in the sporting world.
Another Show on Sky Sports News HQ is Soccer Saturday, hosted by Jeff Stelling and analysed by Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas, as well as match reports from Iain Dowie, Chris Kamara, Alan McInally, Peter Stevenson, Paul Walsh, Kevin Watson, Bianca Westwood and Matt Murray among others.
On 5 August 2007, the channel was "refreshed" in line with the Sky Sports new look. The channel was again given a 'new look' on 23 August 2010 of its own accord, gaining a significant graphics overhaul and broadcast in widescreen and HD for the first time. The overhaul also coincided with the channel's upgrade to a 'Pay' channel, including its removal from Freeview.
It was rebranded as Sky Sports News HQ on 12 August 2014.
Sky Sports 4
The fourth Sports channel launched by Sky (originally launched as Sky Sports Xtra). It airs repeats and live events of many Sky Sports programmes, such as La Liga. The channel launched in April 1999, and is a free bonus channel for those who subscribe to both Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. The name Xtra rather than Sky Sports 4 was chosen as the original intention of the channel was to simulcast sporting events showing on the main channels with the addition of interactive services.
The channel has stopped simulcasting, and the interactive services have moved to the main Sky Sports channels. Sky Sports 4 now shows live and recorded sports events, and is in effect a fourth main Sky Sports channel. In light of this, on 6 January 2010, Sky Sports Xtra was renamed Sky Sports 4.
In 2011, Sky Sports Xtra returned as a subscriber-only video channel on SkySports.com.
Sky Sports 4 mainly broadcasts golf.
Sky Sports 5
On 10 June 2014, Sky announced that they would be launching Sky Sports 5. The channel was the seventh Sky Sports channel to launch and specialise in broadcasting European football, including UEFA European Championship qualifiers, La Liga and the Eredivisie. Sky Sports 5 appeared on the Sky EPG as channel 407 on 12 June 2014. Sky Sports 5 launched on 12 August 2014. The first match broadcast on the channel was the 2014 UEFA Super Cup. Beginning in 2016 Sky Sports 5 would air WWE programming including WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown
Sky Sports F1
Sky Sports F1 launched on 9 March 2012, providing Formula One coverage from March through to November. Every practice and qualifying session for each Grand Prix is shown live and every race is shown live without commercial interruption. On Wednesday 24 August 2016, Sky Sports F1 had moved to a new location on the EPG to channel 408 to make way for Sky Sports Mix to launch on 407.
Sky Sports Mix
Sky Sports Mix launched on 24 August 2016. It provides a mix of free events from across the Sky Sports network, including Formula One, football, Game Changers and netball. It reaches the same number of UK homes as Sky Sports News HQ and is predicted to have a reach audience over 17 million viewers per year. It appears on Sky channel 407, Virgin UK channel 507 and Virgin Ireland channels 105 and 400 (where Eir Sport 1 was before it was removed along with all the other Eir Sport and BT Sport channels on 1 August 2016). It will show live or highlights of every F1 race and qualifying session, including live coverage of British Grand Prix and at least two 'prime time' races.
Sky Sports News Radio
Sky Sports News Radio is a British online radio station broadcasting sports news, results and information 24 hours a day. It is a sister service to the television channel Sky Sports News HQ.
The station was launched in June 2010 and broadcasts online and via digital platforms from the Teamtalk studios in Leeds. It originally broadcast from 08:00 to 18:00 only, expanding to a full 24-hour schedule in August 2010 to coincide with the start of the 2010–11 football season. The station was initially only available to Sky Sports subscribers, but became free to all listeners when its sister TV channel was removed from Freeview. The station can also be listened to via the Sky Sports Apps and third party platforms such as TuneIn Radio and The Pure Lounge.
News reports are sourced from the Sky Sports News newsroom, Sky News Radio and information is shared with SkySports.com who are based in the same office. The station's managing editor is Mark Chesworth.
Sky occasionally gives one of their channels a temporary rebrand to coincide with a sports event. Examples of this include:
- Sky Sports Ashes: To coincide with the 2013 Ashes series, Sky Sports 2 was renamed as Sky Sports Ashes on 30 June until 31 August 2013. As well as covering the Ashes, the dedicated cricket channel also featured the Women's Ashes, domestic cricket and various magazine and review shows. The practice was repeated for the 2015 Ashes series.
- Sky Sports Ryder Cup: From 18 September to 2 October 2014, Sky rebranded Sky Sports 4 as Sky Sports Ryder Cup. The channel was dedicated to the coverage of the 2014 Ryder Cup, from Gleneagles. It repeated from 26 September to 5 October 2016 for the Ryder Cup for that year.
- Sky Sports Darts: In recent years Sky Sports 3 has become Sky Sports Darts for the duration of the PDC World Darts Championship. The channel mixes live coverage with replays of the most recent sessions and classic moments from the tournament's history. Sky Sports Darts was first seen for the 2015 William Hill World Darts Championship and it returned on 14 December 2015 however, Sky Sports F1 was temporarily renamed Sky Sports Darts until 5 January 2016. For the 2017 event it was Sky Sports 3 that was renamed.
- Sky Sports World Cup: From 14 February to 29 March 2015, Sky rebranded Sky Sports 2 as Sky Sports World Cup. The channel was dedicated to the coverage of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, from Australia and New Zealand.
- Sky Sports The Open: During their first live broadcast of golf's The Open Championship, from 11 to 18 July 2016, Sky Sports 1 rebranded as Sky Sports The Open.
At the Races
At the Races was founded by the Go Racing consortium, a partnership of Channel 4, BSkyB, and Arena Leisure plc (owner of Ascot Racecourse, and acting on behalf of a further 27 out of the 59 UK racecourses) in July 2004. Following its high-profile collapse (and Channel 4 removing itself from the consortium) the station – now purely a joint venture between BSkyB and Arena Leisure – focuses on horse racing from the UK, Ireland, North America and Germany, showing many live races and related shows. The station is "affiliated" with various betting companies, since gamblers are generally the sport's main audience, and its pictures, provided by satellite link provider SIS, are also commercially distributed to betting shops across the country.
PremPlus was a pay-per-view channel dedicated to airing live Premier League Football. PremPlus launched on 18 August 2001, showing 40 pay-per-view Premier League matches. The main presenter on PremPlus was Marcus Buckland with former Arsenal manager George Graham providing punditry.
The channel was called Premiership Plus from 2001 to 2004, before being shortened to the later PremPlus for the beginning of the 2004–05 season.
PremPlus closed down after the last match of the 2006–07 season after Setanta Sports obtained a third of the Premier League rights for 2007–10. This left Sky with only 92 live matches, meaning a Pay-Per-View service was unsustainable.
Sky Digital (1998–present)
October 1998 saw BSkyB launch Sky Digital from a new satellite, Astra 2A at 28.2° east. The move to Sky Digital saw the launch of two new sports channels in quick succession. First Sky Sports News, a 24-hour rolling sports news channel launched. This was followed by Sky Sports Xtra, in March 1999. The channel was initially available exclusively on Sky Digital. However, by summer 2003, the channel had launched on Virgin Media.
On 22 August 1999, Sky utilised a feature of the, then new, Sky Digital system to allow an interactive football match to be shown. Viewers were given the ability to choose the things such as which camera they viewed during the Arsenal vs. Manchester United. The concept proved popular and soon Sky used the new interactive service, known as Sky Sports Active, for other sports.
Around 2001, a cross-branding deal ensured that a quiz under the name of the Championship Manager series was produced with the Sky Sports name on it. Kirsty Gallacher was the host of the PlayStation 2 quiz.
In 2004, Sky signed an exclusive deal to broadcast live English cricket matches for four seasons from 2006 to 2009 for a fee of £55 million a year. As with their other exclusive deals this caused some controversy, as the matches were no longer available on terrestrial TV. Sky also signed an exclusive deal with the BCCI to televise the tour of India.
Following its earlier collapse, Sky purchased the majority of Channel 4's stake in horse racing channel, At the Races (the remainder of the stake went to Arena Leisure, the other partner in the channel and owner of Ascot Racecourse). At The Races was insolvent, and despite being promoted as part of the Sky Sports line up, had failed to turn a profit. It remains a provider of live coverage to betting shops, however.
Prior to the start of the 2004–05 season, Football First, an interactive football programme was launched. The show typically airs at 8.25 pm and replays full coverage of the day's featured Premier League match, followed through the night by highlights from every Premier League match played on the day, which gives the viewer a chance to see a match of their choice. Sky Sports won the rights to air 'near-live' coverage of the Barclays Premier League, permitting Football First to air for another three years.
In 2007, a rival pay television operator, the Irish network Setanta Sports, acquired a share in the British rights to live Premier League matches, breaking Sky's long-standing monopoly. Setanta bought up various other rights such as PGA Tour golf and some top boxing matches, giving Sky a significant rival in the pay television sports market for the first time, but Sky remained the market leader by a wide margin. On 22 June 2009, Setanta's British operations went into administration and ceased broadcasting, which saw ESPN enter the UK market.
Owing to an Ofcom review of premium services, Sky Sports 1 and 2 launched on digital terrestrial television through BT Vision on 1 August 2010 and Top Up TV the following day. This marked the first time Sky Sports premium channels have been shown via DTT since ITV Digital collapsed in May 2002. The channels were withdrawn from terrestrial television, in favour of BT Sport 1 and 2, at midnight on 1 July 2013.
Sky Sports HD channels
Sky Sports 1 HD launched on 22 May 2006 as Sky Sports HD, and airs live cricket, Premier League and The Football League as well as English Premiership and Super League Rugby. The 2008 Ryder Cup was also screened in HD.
In July 2006, Sky Sports HD2 launched on Sky Digital channel 409, at the same time Sky Sports HD1 moved to channel 408, with Sky Sports News switching to channel 405. There was also a HD version of PremPlus, called PremPlus HD, which broadcast on Sky channel 483 until the football session ended. It was briefly branded Sky Sports HDX and used to broadcast other Sky Sports content in HD, before it ceased broadcasting.
HD broadcasts of rugby league's Super League began from the start of the 2008 season in February 2008. Super Bowl XLI marked the first NFL broadcast in HD in the UK; additional NFL games in HD have since been phased in. Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Thanksgiving Day games and the NFL Playoffs were shown in HD from 2008.
Sky Sports HD3 launched on 17 March 2008, to coincide with WWE's first UK HD broadcast. The channel broadcasts a large quantity of WWE and golf.
Sky Sports HD4 launched on 29 April 2010.
Due to an Ofcom review of premium services, Sky Sports HD1 and HD2 launched on the Virgin Media platform on 2 August 2010. This marked the first time that Sky's HD programming was shown via a rival service. Smallworld Cable added Sky Sports HD1 and HD2 in the first quarter of 2012. UPC Ireland added Sky Sports 1 HD and 2 HD along with Sky Sports News HD on 16 August 2012.
Sky Sports News HD launched on 23 August 2010. It was rebranded as Sky Sports News HQ HD on 12 August 2014 along with the standard channel.
On 1 March 2012, the HD channels were given a minor rebrand, with the 'HD' moving to the end of the channel names, for example Sky Sports 1 HD instead of Sky Sports HD1. Sky Sports F1 HD launched on 9 March 2012.
Sky Sports 2 HD was also rebranded to 'Sky Sports Ashes HD' in the same move used for the standard channel on 30 June until 31 August 2013. Sky Sports 4 HD will be also rebranded to 'Sky Sports Ryder Cup HD' in the same move used for the standard channel on 18 September 2014 until 2 October 2014.
Sky Sports 3 HD, Sky Sports 4 HD and Sky Sports F1 HD launched on Virgin Media on 15 July 2014. Sky Sports 5 HD launched on 12 August 2014 as well as being added on Virgin Media. Sky Sports 3, 4 and 5 HD launched on Virgin Media Ireland on 15 October 2014.
Sky Sports has made a number of high-profile sports broadcasts available on its 3D television service. The first sports broadcast on Sky 3D was the Manchester United vs Chelsea Premier League game on 3 April 2010. But as of 25 September 2014 future of Sky 3D looked in serious doubt as Sky announced they will not be airing a Premier League game for the 2014-15 season. The channel closed on 9 June 2015
3D Broadcasting Tests
On Sunday 31 January 2010, the Arsenal vs Manchester United game was shown in 3D in around 30 pubs around the UK. The special glasses were seen being tried by Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, and the commentators and the studio presenters mentioned of this being a world premiere live Sports 3D presentation several times.
On 13 August 2016. Some Sky services became available to watch in UHD for the first time. 124 Premier League matches will be broadcast in the 2016–17 season. Customers will need to be Sky Q multiscreen customers who subscribe to Sky Sports pack in order to receive UHD broadcasts.
4K broadcasting tests
It was widely reported that Sky used the West Ham United v Stoke City Premier League game on 31 August 2013 as an internal production test for broadcasting 4K / Ultra HD picture.
In the "Sky Views Blog", Barney Francis, managing director Sky Sports stated that, although it was only view internally, the test has been key in helping Sky evaluate whether it will start broadcasting in 4K.
"We saw enough in this test event to know that live sport in UHD has real potential. The broadcast also demonstrated the capability of our satellite platform, which is ideally placed to continue supporting high-bandwidth video."
"That said, we’ve still much more to learn, particularly about how to make full use of UHD from a live production perspective."
It was later reported that Sky would launch their own 4K set top box to broadcast sporting events in mid-end of 2015.
Sky owns exclusive UK and Ireland, or UK-only exclusivity rights to a number of sports, most notably the ones listed below. They also transmit a large range of other sports. Some of the BSB's Sport Channel programming were The Football League, US Open tennis, and American football from the NFL.
Many of the BSB Sport Channel's rights packages, such as those for the FA Cup, Wimbledon and Test cricket, were acquired in tandem with the BBC.
For the 2016–17 to 2018–19 seasons, Sky Sports will show 126 live Premier League matches each season. These games are played on Friday nights, Saturday lunchtimes, Sundays and Monday nights, for which Sky broadcasts the dedicated programmes Nissan Friday Night Football (FNF), Nissan Super Sunday and Bet365 Monday Night Football (MNF). Previously, games on Saturday late afternoon were broadcast as Saturday Night Football (SNF), although this slot passed to BT Sport.
David Jones is the presenter of Super Sunday and Monday Night Football, following the departure of former host Ed Chamberlin to ITV's horse racing coverage. Simon Thomas also hosts live Premier League action on Saturday lunch times, under the banner Premier League Live. Friday night games were introduced by the Premier League for the 2016–17 season, and for this inaugural season Sky launched a new show, Friday Night Football, to broadcast these games. Presented by Rachel Riley and Jeff Stelling, the show is intended to be more entertainment based, in contrast to the focus on match analysis in Monday Night Football.
The main studio pundits include Jamie Carragher, Graeme Souness, Thierry Henry, Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp. Sky Sports' lead commentators include Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne, Bill Leslie and Alan Parry while co-commentary is regularly provided by Gary Neville, Alan Smith, Niall Quinn, Andy Hinchcliffe and Davie Provan, with Jamie Carragher popping-up on certain matches. Geoff Shreeves, Patrick Davison and Greg Whelan are the reporters on the Premier League coverage.
Sky Sports broadcasts exclusive live coverage of the English Football League and EFL Cup. Sky show a total of 148 matches each season, up to 2018–19 from the EFL Championship, EFL League One, EFL League Two, EFL Cup and EFL Trophy. Scott Minto and Kelly Cates are the presenters of the EFL coverage with Minto hosting on Friday and Sunday and Cates hosting the games played on Saturday evenings. Daniel Mann, Gary Weaver and Bill Leslie are the main match commentators while co-commentators and pundits include Andy Hinchcliffe, Don Goodman, Peter Beagrie, Danny Higginbotham, David Prutton and Garry Birtles. Jonathan Oakes, David Craig and Guy Havord report. Rob Palmer does the occasional commentary on an international matchday weekend, and Martin Fisher popped-up over Christmas 2016.
Sky Sports broadcast two matches live per round in the EFL Cup, the two-legged semi-finals and the Final; a total of 15 live games per season with Simon Thomas hosting all of the action.
Sky share rights to the SPFL with BT Sport. Both broadcasters show 30 games per season, with Sky having first pick of matches including all Old Firm Derbies shown live on Sky. Sky also show up to nine live Scottish Cup matches per season and share the rights with BBC Scotland, who show 5–8 matches per season. The Scottish Cup final is simulcast on both Sky Sports and BBC One Scotland. Coverage is presented by David Tanner. Commentators include Ian Crocker and Rory Hamilton, while pundit / co-commentators are Andy Walker and Neil McCann.
Sky Sports also show live matches from La Liga, the top tier of Spanish football, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. Sky's La Liga deal is from the 2015/16 to the 2017/18 season and includes La Copa, the Spanish cup competition. Sky broadcast at eight matches from each weekend of the season (both live and as-live) and is hosted by David Garrido and the commentators include Rob Palmer, Kevin Keatings, Jon Driscoll, Dominic Johnson, Gerry Armstrong and Terry Gibson. Highlights and weekly review of La Liga, are shown on Revista de La Liga, presented by the Spanish football expert Guillem Balagué.
Major League Soccer
In 2015, Sky Sports took over the UK TV rights for Major League Soccer, making it the exclusive home of the US top-tier division on UK TV. The rights were previously held by BT Sport. The commentary is taken from the World Feed.
Chinese Super League
In 2016, Sky Sports added yet another competition to its unrivaled schedule of live football with the addition of the Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL).
Sky Sports holds the rights to every home and away match featuring Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales and cover every other match in the European Qualifiers except the England match which is on ITV and one other qualifier per round which is on ITV4, under this Sky Sports have highlights of England matches. England Matches are commentated on by Martin Tyler & Alan Smith, Scotland by Ian Crocker & Davie Provan, Northern Ireland by Daniel Mann & Gerry Armstrong and Wales by Bill Leslie & Barry Horne. The Republic of Ireland gets commentary from Rob Hawthorne and Ray Houghton.
Launched in 1995, Soccer AM, is a Saturday morning talk show presented by John Fendley & Helen Chamberlain, with a focus on humorous analysis of British football, largely but not exclusively based around the Premier League.
Launched in 1992, Soccer Saturday is a live updates show, broadcast on Saturdays during the football season. The programme updates viewers on the progress of association football games in the United Kingdom on Saturday afternoons. The current host is Jeff Stelling, with studio pundits Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas. Regular reporters include Chris Kamara, Alan McInally, Tony Cottee, Iain Dowie, Matt Murray, Neil Mellor, Rob Palmer, David Craig, Bianca Westwood, Bryn Law, Dickie Davies and Johnny Phillips. A programme with the same format is also broadcast when there are a number of midweek games, such as on UEFA Champions League nights, in which case it is known as Soccer Special. Since 2011, Soccer Special has been hosted by Julian Warren.
Launched in 1999, Sunday Supplement is a Sunday morning magazine style pundit show, presented by Neil Ashton since 2012. Originally Jimmy Hill's Sunday Supplement, but after a revamp in 2007, Hill was dropped.
Goals on Sunday
Goals on Sunday is a Sunday morning highlights show, presented by Ben Shepherd & Chris Kamara.
Fantasy Football Club
Launched at the start of the 2012-2013 season, Fantasy Football Club is a Friday night show focused on fantasy football. Originally presented by John "Fenners" Fendley and Paul Merson, it is now presented by Max Rushden, Rachel Riley & Paul Merson.
Football presenters, pundits and commentators
Pundits / Co-Commentators
Sky was the first broadcaster to show live coverage of a complete overseas tour involving the England cricket team when England toured the West Indies in 1990. Since then Sky has acquired the rights to show home international series involving England, Australia, West Indies, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh at various times as well as showing almost every England overseas tour, ICC tournaments such as the Cricket World Cup, Champions Trophy and World Twenty20 as well as the Stanford Super Series in 2008. Sky also shows extensive coverage of county cricket, with over 60 live games each season involving every county in all competitions.
Sky Sports first started broadcasting Home England Tests in 1999. In a joint deal with terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4, it began showing 1 home Test each summer plus one-day internationals (Channel 4 were the senior broadcast partner). This arrangement continued until 2006, when Sky Sports' flagship live coverage of England's home test series began. The previous year, it was announced by the ECB that it had awarded Sky exclusive coverage of all of England's home tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 Internationals including the 2009 Ashes with highlights on Channel 5 produced by Sunset & Vine who produced Channel 4 coverage. The ECB have since renewed Sky Sports's deal until 2017. The Fifth Test vs India at the Oval, (commencing 15 August 2014) was the 200th England Test shown live on Sky Sports. Coverage is presented by former England captain David Gower and an illustrious commentary team including former captains Nasser Hussain, Andrew Strauss, Michael Atherton and Sir Ian Botham, popular former England batsman and coach and first-class umpire David Lloyd, former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding and Australian legend Shane Warne, who joined the team during the 2009 Ashes. The team is completed by Nick Knight, or commentators from the touring side such as former internationals Ricky Ponting (Australia), Rameez Raja (Pakistan), Ravi Shastri (India) and Shaun Pollock (South Africa). Highlights are broadcast in a prime time slot each evening, presented by Charles Colvile, alongside Bob Willis and another guest.
Coverage of county cricket is presented and commentated on by former Surrey and England batsman Ian Ward and Charles Colvile. In addition to the presenters and those commentators involved in the international coverage, Bob Willis, Paul Allott, Mark Butcher and Jeremy Coney commentate on county cricket along with special guests such as Glamorgan's former England offspinner Robert Croft, Kent batsman Robert Key, veteran seamer Dominic Cork and former Australia and Gloucestershire all-rounder Ian Harvey.
Overseas series involving England are presented either from the ground by David Gower or from a London studio by Ian Ward or Charles Colvile. The commentary team is largely unchanged from that used for England home series.
Other international cricket is presented by Matt Floyd, Paul Allott and Nick Knight in the Sky Sports studio alongside pundits such as Ian Harvey, Jeremy Coney, Colin Croft, Robert Croft, Robert Key, Mark Butcher, Marcus Trescothick and Vikram Solanki.
Match coverage is taken from host broadcasters around the world such as Channel Nine in Australia, Sky TV in New Zealand, Supersport in South Africa, and STAR Sports in India, with ONE World Sports carrying the network's coverage of the England team's tours in the United States. This ensures the voices of the likes of Mark Nicholas, Ian Chappell, Simon Doull, Ian Smith, Robin Jackman, Pommie Mbangwa, Ramiz Raja, Wasim Akram, Mohammad Akram, Kepler Wessels, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar are heard each winter on Sky.
Sky Sports additional Cricket programming includes:
In 2003, Sky Sports began its coverage of the Heineken Cup, when it outbid the previous rights holder BBC Sport with its offer of £20 million for 3 years. Coverage of 10 matches each pool weekend and all knockout matches from the Heineken Cup was the norm. Additionally, up to three matches per round in the Amlin Challenge Cup were usually shown. Following the demise of the Heineken Cup, Sky Sports will now share the rights to the newly formed Rugby Champions Cup with BT Sport, from the 2014-15 season. Both broadcasters will show 35 live matches each year and they will share live coverage of the final.
In 2014, Sky Sports extended their already long-term deal with the RFU to continue showing England Internationals (outside of the Six Nations) exclusively live up until the end of the 2019-20 season. This includes their autumn test matches at Twickenham and their annual Spring fixture. Furthermore, Sky broadcast live England Saxons, under 18, under 20 & England Women. As a part of the deal with the RFU, Sky also has the rights to broadcast at least 11 games per season from the RFU Championship, including the 2 legged final for promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
They have also signed contracts to cover Ireland's Autumn Internationals until 2018. Furthermore, Sky hold the rights to broadcast New Zealand, Australia, South Africa Tests and The Rugby Championship). This means that, aside from Italy, France, Wales and Scotland, Sky hold the right to show all Tier 1 nations home Tests (outside the Six Nations Championship). Highlights of England Internationals are shown on BBC Sport and Ireland Internationals are shared with RTÉ Sport, commentary on Ireland matches were provided by Mark Robson & Alan Quinlan.
Commencing from the 2014-15 season, Sky Sports began showing games from the Guinness Pro 12 (covering 30 matches alongside the current terrestrial broadcasters BBC Wales, S4C, TG4, BBC NI and BBC Alba). Furthermore, they broadcast two live matches each weekend from the Top 14. Sky's contract with SANZAR also allows them to show live matches from the Super Rugby competition.
Sky Sports' rugby union coverage is presented by one of Alex Payne, James Gemmell and Rupert Cox. Graham Simmons and Bill Latham are the main touchline reporters. Miles Harrison, Mark Robson, Martin Gillingham, Johnnie Hammond and Simon Ward are the main commentators who are often alongside Stuart Barnes, Ieuan Evans, Dewi Morris, Frankie Sheahan, Scott Hastings and Alan Quinlan. Analysis comes from Will Greenwood, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Paul Wallace, Scott Quinnell, Pat Sanderson, Rory Lawson and Shane Horgan.
The power of television over sport can perhaps be best portrayed by the change of rugby league from a winter sport to one played during the summer months under the banner of Super League. These changes caused great controversy when they were introduced in 1996, yet they have been seen by many[who?] as positive and as having an impact even greater than the broadcaster has had with football.
The sport is now seen as being in a healthy state with two or three live matches from the Super League every week fronted by 'Eddie and Stevo' – Eddie Hemmings and former Great Britain World Cup winner Mike Stephenson – who are a rare example of a dual studio-presentation and commentary-box partnership in sports broadcasting. Brian Carney Brian Carney and Jon Wells present parts of the pre-match build up and half time coverage. For the remaining pre-match coverage Eddie Hemmings is joined in the studio by two of Phil Clarke, Barrie McDermott, Terry O'Connor, Tony Rea, John Kear, Paul Cullen or Mike Stephenson . Eddie Hemmings, Phil Clarke and Stevo commentate on Super League matches, with an additional pundit (usually one of the above). Bill Arthur is the pitch-side reporter.
Live Super League broadcasts routinely rank amongst the top 10 most watched programmes in a week on Sky Sports.Sky has sold rights to a highlights package of the Super League to BBC Sport, who air The Super League Show on Sunday nights/Afternoon in Northern regions, with a nationwide replay on Monday afternoon.
Sky also held the rights to show the majority of the matches from the Four Nations and the previous competition the Tri Nations live, with the other games being shown live or in highlights form on BBC Sport and Sky Sports previously showed the 2008 World Cup exclusively live with only highlights on the BBC. This agreement ended in 2012 and Sky Sports surprisingly lost the rights to International Rugby League from the 2013 Rugby League World Cup to the BBC and Premier Sports. The matches for the 2013 and 2017 Rugby League World Cup are being shared between the BBC and Premier Sports with BBC covering all England matches, Wales v Italy, One Quarter Final, One Semi-final and the Final in 2013. The BBC & Premier Sports have also signed a deal to cover the 2014 and 2016 Four Nations. Beginning in 2012, the channel airs Challenge Cup matches alongside the BBC: usually, they will air one match in the fourth and fifth rounds and two of the quarter-finals with highlights of the Semi-Finals and Finals which are exclusively live on the BBC. Rod Studd and Bill Arthur are the main commentators for these matches, with Carney, Clarke, Jon Wells and Graham Beecroft as summarisers/reporters. Until 2012, Sky aired Championship and Northern Rail Cup games on Thursdays and Sundays, until the rights for these were purchased by Premier Sports.
They also broadcast a weekly midweek rugby league magazine show, Boots N' All, during the season; Super League's Super Men, an interview show with legends of the game hosted by Brian Carney and Sam Tomkins; the Sunday night roundup show Super League Full Time, and a half-hour summary of the weekend's Super League matches on Sky Sports News on Sundays presented by Martin Offiah. In addition, during the summer Super League Back Chat, usually a roundtable vodcast starring Stephenson, Studd and a rotating panel of rugby league journalists, is promoted to the regular TV schedule.
Coverage of the Australian NRL Grand Final as well as the State of Origin series and the Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand in May, returned to Sky Sports in 2010 on a two-year contract but have since ended and gone to Premier Sports who are the main broadcasters of the National Rugby League.
Sky Sports also broadcasts major motorsport events. This includes:
In July 2011, Sky Sports acquired joint rights to broadcast Formula One in the United Kingdom from 2012 until 2018. The deal included the rights to show all practice and qualifying sessions, in addition to the races. The joint broadcast rights were held by BBC but transferred to Channel 4 from the 2016 season. The shared nature of the contract means that Sky Sports F1 show 11 races exclusively live, with the remaining races being shown by both Sky and Channel 4 (who are televising the remaining races live and highlights of all races on a delayed basis). Whilst the initial announcement did prove controversial (with early promises that the races would be uninterrupted by commercials doing little to quell the negative initial reaction from many fans and observers), in its first two years of broadcasting, the coverage has twice won F1 International Broadcaster of the Year from the FIA (in 2012 & 2013)
Sky Sports F1 will broadcast the entire 2017 Formula One season in 4K Ultra-HD, on the Sky Q Silver Ultra-HD package.
Sky Sports additional F1 programming includes:
Sky also has broadcast rights the ATP World Tour and the ATP World Tour Finals (all matches live) until 2017. Prior to this, six round-robin matches, one semi-final and final live on BBC until 2013. Sky Sports dropped coverage of their only Grand Slam the US Open after the 2015 edition citing increased spending on Premier League rights.
Golf is one of the most broadcast sports across the Sky Sports channels, with at least one tournament shown live in 50 weeks of the year. Sky's major event coverage is fronted by David Livingstone, expert analysis from Butch Harmon, on course commentary from Howard Clark, in-depth 18th hole interviews from tour coach and golfing expert, Tim Barter and main commentary from Ewen Murray and Bruce Critchley. Other golfers such as Peter Oosterhuis, Tony Johnstone, Thomas Bjørn, David Howell, Richard Boxall, Jamie Spence, Mark Roe, Robert Lee, Ross McFarlane, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Paul McGinley, Philip Parkin and Ken Brown contributing to their coverage over the years.
Sky Sports has exclusive UK rights for all of the four major championships, the US Open and the U.S PGA Championship. From 2011 Sky have broadcast all four days of The Masters in High Definition and 3D, as well as the Par 3 Tournament. BBC Sport broadcast the final two rounds simultaneously with Sky. They also grabbed the rights for The Open Championship which the BBC had shown live from the 1950s, Sky outbid the BBC and rebranded Sky Sports 1 as Sky Sports The Open for the tournament with the BBC only showing 2-hour highlights each day on BBC Two and live coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Sky also broadcast major championships from the women's tour and senior tour, including the Kraft Nabisco Championship, US Women's Open, Senior PGA Championship, Senior British Open Championship and US Senior Open.
World Golf championships
Since its inception in 1999, Sky Sports has broadcast the World Golf Championships exclusively live, with the exception of the 2001 WGC-American Express Championship, which was broadcast on the BBC. They usually present the broadcast on site, as they do for major championships and the Ryder Cup, reflecting their importance in the game as the next most important series of events after the majors.
Sky also have exclusive live UK rights to broadcast the PGA Tour (until 2017) including The Players Championship and PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup. Sky were the exclusive UK broadcasters of the PGA Tour from 1993 to 2006 until Setanta Sports bought the rights in 2007, the Irish subscription network went into administration midway through the 2009 season and the rights for the remainder of the season were awarded to Eurosport.
Sky showed at least 32 events on the European Tour (until 2012) including the Dubai World Championship. Since 2009, Sky Sports and BBC Sport have shared live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship and Barclays Scottish Open, with Sky broadcasting live coverage of Thursday and Friday and the BBC screening the weekend action.
Sky Sports shows live coverage of the sport's premier event, the Ryder Cup. Since 1995, they have held the exclusive live UK rights to the biennial team event between USA and Europe, broadcasting the event in its entirety for the first time at Oak Hill in 1995. The event was broadcast in High Definition for the first time in 2006 at the K Club in County Kildare Ireland. Since 1999 it has also offered interactive coverage with options including the American coverage, Highlights and course guides. Sky holds the rights until 2012, with BBC broadcasting evening highlights. In 2010, Sky broadcast the Ryder Cup in 3D, making it the first live event on Sky 3D, Europe's first residential 3D channel.
In 2010, Sky Sports broadcast in excess of 150 tournaments from the men's and women's tours.
Sky Sports covered some BDO Tournaments during its inception including the 1992 Winmau World Masters which was previously broadcast on ITV. Since the creation of the World Darts Council in 1992, since renamed the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), formed when many of the leading darts players, including Phil Taylor, Eric Bristow, John Lowe and Dennis Priestley, broke away from the British Darts Organisation (BDO), the game's then sole ruling body, Sky Sports has broadcast the new organisation's main darts tournaments live, which currently includes the following. Between 1993-2007 Sky were the only regular UK broadcaster of PDC Darts (apart from the 1999 BDO v PDC showdown between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld which was broadcast on ITV). However this changed in 2007 when ITV covered the PDC/BDO tournament the Grand Slam of Darts, this moved to Sky in 2011 however ITV continued to show the European Championship and Players Championship Finals, their coverage expanded in 2014 to cover the UK Open and the Masters.
Sky's coverage includes the PDC World Darts Championship which it shows on a temporary channel Sky Sports Darts. The tournament has been broadcast live and in its entirety by Sky Sports in the UK since its inception. Since 2009 the tournament has been shot in High Definition (HD). The tournament has become more and more popular in recent years with the 2007 World Final achieving a viewing figure in excess of 1 million for the first time. Sky also shows the PDC World Cup of Darts, Premier League Darts, the World Matchplay, the World Grand Prix, the Grand Slam of Darts and the PDC Under-21 World Championship (final only). Sky used to show thw UK Open but sicne 2014 this has been shown on ITV.
Sky Sports has not covered any BDO Darts since the split in darts.
Sky Sports Darts coverage was initially presented by Jeff Stelling with Eric Bristow and commentary by John Gwynne and Dave Lanning while Sid Waddell joined Sky from the BBC in 1994. Dave Clark replaced Stelling in 2002 although covered some tournaments in 2001, Pyke joined the commentary team in 2003, Rod Harrington and Nigel Pearson joined in 2005, Rod Studd joined in 2008 and former BBC Darts commentators David Croft and John Part joined in 2013. David Croft only works for Sky Sports Darts on the PDC World Darts Championship and some weeks of the Premier League Darts and Stuart Pyke also works for ITV coverage of PDC Darts.
Sky Sports Darts Team: Dave Clark: (2002–present) Stuart Pyke: (2003–present, Also works for ITV Sport Darts Coverage 2007–present) Rod Harrington: (2005–present) Nigel Pearson: (2005–present) Rod Studd: (2008–present) Wayne Mardle: (2010–present) David Croft: (2013–present, previously worked for BBC Sport darts coverage 2003-2012) John Part: (2013–present, previously worked for BBC Sport darts coverage 1995-2007)
Former Sky Sports Darts Team: Eric Bristow (1993–2016) John Gwynne: (1993-2013, subsequently with Eurosport's BDO Darts coverage) Dave Lanning: (1993-2010 & 2013. Died in 2016. Previously worked for ITV Sport 1972-1988) Jeff Stelling: (1993-2002) Sid Waddell: (1994-2012, Died from Cancer. Previously worked for BBC Sport 1978-1994)
Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing enjoys an exclusive television deal with Sky Sports through 2021 and provides Sky Sports with upwards of 20 events per year. Some of the coverage is shown on a pay-per-view basis via Sky Box Office. A number of former boxing world champions are part of Sky's coverage, including Johnny Nelson, Carl Froch and Glenn McCrory.
Part of the current deal with Sky states that major PPV's such as WrestleMania, Survivor Series, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam are part of the Sky Box Office pay-per-view service, and that SmackDown's first broadcast moved from Sky1 to Sky Sports. As part of the deal, Raw is now shown live on Sky Sports 3 early Tuesday morning because of the time difference. As of 19 July 2016, SmackDown! is broadcast live early Wednesday morning for the same reason.
Sky also broadcast WWE's third brand, ECW on Sci Fi before it was cancelled. For a couple of months it replaced WWE Velocity on Sunday mornings. It is shown two nights after the US broadcast after a viewer complained to Ofcom in August 2006 about an image in the opening credits, and Sky agreed to air the program after the watershed.
The deal of 14 Pay-Per-Views did not account for WWE's extra pay-per-views which have been added subsequently, and therefore WWE Cyber Sunday would not have been picked up by Sky. However, a last-minute deal was struck between Sky and WWE, that allowed the PPV to be shown live on Sky Sports 1.
The first WWE event to be shown in wide-screen (16:9) format on Sky Sports was No Way Out on 18 February 2008 at 1 am on Sky Sports 1. Although after this, other WWE programming were still in standard (4:3) format however due to complaints all WWE programming will now be airing in widescreen from a down-scaled HD feed.
On 30 January 2014, Sky Sports announced they had signed another five-year deal with WWE. Sky will now continue to exclusively broadcast WWE's flagship shows in the UK and Ireland through to 2019.
WWE pay-per-views were previously shown on Sky Sports for free roughly every 5 months, with all remaining pay-per-views being broadcast on Sky Sports Box Office at an additional cost. However, as of 2015, all pay-per-views were broadcast on Sky Sports Box Office at a cost of £19.95.
WWE shows on Sky
The following list excludes WWE pay-per-view events where a minority are broadcast on Sky Sports while the rest are broadcast on Sky Box Office at an additional cost of £19.95 (€24.95 in Ireland) per event.
On 2 April 2014, Sky Sports signed a deal with the Gaelic Athletic Association to broadcast both the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. The deal gives Sky Sports 20 championship matches across both sports including both semi-finals and both All-Ireland Finals. Sky will have exclusive rights in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK to 14 of these matches with the remaining 6 matches being simultaneously broadcast by RTÉ in the Republic of Ireland. The deal covers the years, 2014 to 2016. It is estimated that the GAA make €0.5 million from this deal.
In 2006, Sky Sports began showing a replay from a match in the Elite Ice Hockey League every week. Due to large audience numbers, even though it is normally on Sky Sports 4, they decided to show a live game for the first time in several years when they showed the play-off finals in 2010. A new deal was signed for the 2010/11 season in which Sky agreed to show eight live games throughout the season and a weekly highlights show. However, the broadcast rights have since moved to Premier Sports.
Summary of sports rights
Gridiron (American) football
Sky Sports covered the FA Cup since it first went on air as BSB's Sports Channel in 1990 alongside the BBC but has not broadcast the FA Cup since 2008 after both broadcasters were outbid by ITV and Setanta, after the collapse of Setanta Sky did not bid for the rights and went to ESPN UK. In 2014-15 the rights transferred from ITV/ESPN to BBC and BT Sport after bidding together.
Sky Sports had been the first channel to show the Community Shield live and as with the FA Cup, Sky has not broadcast this event since 2011 after rights transerred to Setanta then ITV and now BT Sport.
One of Sky's first major live football rights deal was exclusive live coverage of the England football team and held these rights throughout the 1990s. The live rights transferred to BBC Sport in 2001-2008 and remain free to air on ITV now with Sky covering England Friendlies & highlights of qualifiers.
Sky Sports was the first channel to show live rugby union every week when it picked up the rights to show the top division of England club rugby in the mid 1990s. The rights transferred to ESPN in 2009 and the league is now covered by BT Sport. Sky Sports also covered England matches from the 5/6 nations from 1997-2002 as well as France v England with all other matches being live on the BBC, the rights were sold to the BBC in 2003 and they covered every match live from the 6 Nations until 2015 when BBC and ITV teamed up to keep the rights free to air after the BBC were outbid by Sky Sports with BBC covering France, Wales & Scotland home matches and ITV covering England, Ireland & Italy.
Sky Sports was the main broadcaster of the US Open until 2015 but decided not to renew its contract to broadcast this event in 2016 because of overspending on Premier League Rights, Sky also previously covered Davis Cup tennis but these rights moved to the BBC and Eurosport.
Andy Gray and Richard Keys dismissals
Sky Sports' football coverage was at the centre of controversy in January 2011 when footage emerged of presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys making comments perceived as sexist. On 25 January 2011, Gray was sacked over the comments. Sky Sports reporter Andy Burton was subsequently suspended coinciding with Gray's original suspension due to similar comments that were perceived as sexist. Keys resigned the following day. At the time, there were newspaper reports alleging that Gray had threatened to sue BSkyB for unfair dismissal (though there is no evidence that any legal action was either forthcoming and/or successful).