Sky Sports
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Sky Sports

Sky Sports
Sky Sports logo 2017.svg
Launched25 March 1990; 29 years ago (25 March 1990) (as The Sports Channel)
20 April 1991; 28 years ago (20 April 1991) (as Sky Sports)
Owned bySky
Picture format2160p UHDTV
(downscaled to 1080i and 16:9 576i for the HDTV and SDTV feeds, respectively)
Audience share0.96% (Main Event)
0.07% (Premier League)
0.02% (Football)
0.77% (Cricket)
0.43% (Golf)
0.25% (F1)
0.1% (Action)
0.1% (Arena)
0.51% (News)
0.1% (Mix)
0.08% (Racing)
~0.00% (all Active feeds) (July 2019, [1])
SloganFeel it all
Formerly calledThe Sports Channel (1990-1991)
Sister channel(s)Challenge,
Pick,
Sky One,
Sky Two,
Sky Arts,
Sky Atlantic,
Sky Cinema,
Sky Crime,
Sky News,
Sky Sports Box Office,
Sky Sports F1,
Sky Sports News,
Sky Sports Racing,
Sky Witness,
Sky Comedy
WebsiteSky Sports Website
Availability
Satellite
SkyChannels 145, 401-409, 415 (HD)
Channels 838, 855-863, 888 (SD)
Cable
Virgin MediaChannels 501-510 (HD)
Channels 511-520, 535
Virgin Media
(Ireland)
Channels 401-409, 418 (SD)
Channels 431-439 (HD)
IPTV
TalkTalk TVChannels 401-407, 417-418
BT TVChannel 402 (Main Event)
Channel 416 (Extra)
Channel 437 (Main Event HD)
Channel 438 (Extra HD)
Eir VisionChannels 401-405, 415-418
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live
(UK and Ireland only)
Now TVWatch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV GoWatch live (UK only)

Sky Sports is a group of British subscription television sports channels operated by the satellite pay-TV company Sky, a division of Comcast. 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 Main Event, Premier League, Football, Cricket, Golf, F1, Action, and Arena are available as a premium package on top of the basic Sky package. These channels are also available as premium channels on nearly every satellite, cable and IPTV broadcasting system in the UK and Ireland. Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Racing, and Sky Sports Mix are all provided as part of basic packages. The Sky Sports network is managed by Barney Francis.

History

Predecessors

British Satellite Broadcasting operated The Sports Channel, which launched in April 1990. 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.

BSB merged with Sky Television plc to form British Sky Broadcasting. Sky Television had co-founded another sports network known as Eurosport with the European Broadcasting Union. Eurosport was the subject of a complaint by a competitor, Screensport, who argued that the venture had the effect of restricting and distorting competition in the sports market.[1] Sky later pulled out of the venture, and the channel was later sold to the TF1 Group and merged with Screensport.

Beginnings

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 before acquiring rights to German and Italian league football (both previously 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 ever. 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.

On 19 August 1994, a secondary channel called Sky Sports 2 was launched. On 1 November 1995, Sky launched a classic sports channel called Sky Sports Gold. However, the channel ceased broadcasting after only a year on the air. On 16 August 1996, Sky launched Sky Sports 3, the original channel was renamed to Sky Sports 1. Sky Sports also acquired the rights to Scottish football and the League Cup.

Digital era

Sky Sports share of viewing 2000-08

With the launch of the Sky Digital satellite platform in October 1998, Sky Sports launched Sky Sports News--a channel carrying rolling sports news coverage, in March 1999, followed by Sky Sports Xtra (later branded as Sky Sports 4 since 2010, then Sky Sports Golf since 2017) in April.

During a Premier League match on 22 August 1999, Sky Sports launched an interactive television service known as Sky Sports Active via the digital platform, allowing viewers to watch matches with access to additional on-screen statistics, and a choice of alternate camera angles and replays. Sky expected to extend the interactive services to other sports the following year.[2][3]

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.[4] On 25 January 2011, fellow reporter Andy Burton was suspended by Sky due to his involvement in the sexist comments made about a female assistant referee, Sian Massey, which also involved Gray and Keys.[5] However, unlike Gray and Keys, Burton later returned to his regular duties at Sky.[6]

Om 29 July 2011, it was announced that Sky Sports had acquired rights to Formula One racing from 2012 through 2018, with the BBC to share free-to-air rights to roughly half of the events, and have highlights rights for the remainder.[7][8] Sky subsequently announced that it would introduce a new channel dedicated specifically to its coverage, Sky Sports F1, which would air practices, qualifying, and advert-free coverage of each race; the channel was made available at no extra charge to all Sky high-definition subscribers, regardless of whether they were a Sky Sports subscriber.[9] Sky extended its contract in 2016, to last through 2024; beginning in 2019, Sky became the exclusive broadcaster of all F1 races excluding the British GP which will also be broadcast on the free to air Channel 4 (who also hold highlights rights for all the races).[10]

On 12 August 2014, Sky launched a new channel called Sky Sports 5, which would be dedicated primarily to European football, including UEFA European Championship qualifiers, La Liga, Eredivisie and others.[11]

On 24 August 2016, Sky launched Sky Sports Mix, a new channel designed to offer a sampling of content from the full range of Sky Sports networks to those who are not subscribers. On Sky, the channel is included as a basic channel with all plans, and was also available on certain Virgin Media packages on-launch.[12][13]

Channel re-alignment and expansion (2017-present)

On 18 July 2017, Sky re-aligned its sports channels, dropping the numbered services in favour of dedicated channels devoted to their core sports properties, including cricket, Formula One, golf, and two football channels (with one specifically dedicated to the Premier League), and three channels dedicated to general sports coverage.[14][15] In addition, Sky announced that it would revise the pricing structure of the channels to make them more attractive to viewers; Sky customers can purchase up to three of the channels on an a la carte basis, or the entire bundle. As before, Sky Sports Mix airs selected programming from across the channels, and is included in Sky's basic service. On Sky's Now TV service, the entire Sky Sports service continues to be available through the timed pass system. The availability and packaging of the new service varies on other providers.[14][16][15]

The U.S. NBC Sports division became a sibling of Sky Sports following Comcast's acquisition of Sky plc. In January 2019, Sky and sister U.S. pay television network NBCSN partnered on coverage of the transfer deadline (NBC holds the Premier League rights in the U.S.), and the network later announced that it would add an hour-long simulcast of the Sky Sports News channel to its weekday morning lineup beginning 4 March.[17][18] For the PGA Tour's 2019 Players Championship, Sky Sports Golf trialled similar synergies with its new sister Golf Channel,[19] For the 2019-20 season, NBC began more extensive on-air integration of Sky Sports resources into its U.S. coverage of the premiership, including adding Sky's studio programmes to its "Premier League Pass" subscription service, adoption of on-air presentation reminiscent of Sky, and originating coverage from Sky's studio during the opening weekend.[20][21]

Channels

Eleven main channels comprise the Sky Sports service:[22]

Name Content
Sky Sports Main Event Airs major events as Sky Sports' flagship channel like football, boxing, cricket, rugby, WWE, Formula 1, etc. When not showing a live event the channel simulcasts Sky Sports News.
Sky Sports Premier League Dedicated exclusively to the Premier League, including live coverage of matches, and other ancillary coverage and documentaries.
Sky Sports Football Dedicated to association football coverage of non-Premier League matches.
Sky Sports Cricket Dedicated to cricket coverage, including domestic and international competition.
Sky Sports Golf Dedicated to golf coverage. As with the former Sky Sports 4.
Sky Sports F1 Dedicated to coverage of Formula One racing as well as Formula 2, Formula 3 and the IndyCar Series.
Sky Sports Action Dedicated to general sports coverage, including rugby, netball, NFL and NBA. Also shows EFL Championship midweek fixtures.
Sky Sports Arena Dedicated to general sports coverage, including Super League, darts, boxing and WWE.
Sky Sports Racing Available to all Sky TV customers. Dedicated to coverage of horse racing.
Sky Sports Mix Available to all Sky TV customers. Airs a mix of live sports and supplementary programming from across the network.
Sky Sports News Available to all Sky TV customers. Provides latest news and updates from across all sports.

In addition to Sky Sports Main Event, BT TV customers receive a channel named Sky Sports Extra which broadcasts Premier League games that are not shown on Main Event.[23]

Temporary channels

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.[24] As well as covering the Ashes, the dedicated cricket channel also featured the Women's Ashes, domestic cricket and various magazine and review shows.[25] The practice was repeated for the 2015 Ashes series and also for the 2019 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. In 2018, Sky Sports Golf was rebranded to Sky Sports Ryder Cup to bring coverage of the 2018 format.
  • Sky Sports Darts: In recent years Sky Sports has launched 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 as a rebrand of Sky Sports 3,[26] and it returned on 14 December 2015 however, Sky Sports F1 was temporarily renamed Sky Sports Darts until 5 January 2016.[27] For the 2017 event it was Sky Sports 3 that was rebranded. From 14 December 2017 until 3 January 2018 and from 13 December 2018 until 2 January 2019, Sky Sports Arena was rebranded as Sky Sports Darts to coincide with the 2018 and 2019 events respectively.
  • 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 Open Championship, from 11 to 18 July 2016, Sky Sports 1 rebranded as Sky Sports The Open. From 17 to 24 July 2017, Sky Sports 4 was rebranded Sky Sports The Open, and would be replaced by Sky Sports 4's replacement, Sky Sports Golf.[28] Sky Sports The Open returned in 2018 between 16 and 23 July.
  • Sky Sports The Players: From 8 May to 14 May 2017, Sky rebranded Sky Sports 4 as Sky Sports The Players. The channel was dedicated to the coverage of the 2017 Players Championship. This was repeated on Sky Sports Golf for the 2018 and 2019 competitions.
  • Sky Sports US Open: From 11 to 19 June 2018, Sky rebranded Sky Sports Golf as Sky Sports US Open, dedicated to the coverage of the 2018 US Open.
  • Sky Sports USA: From 3 January to 5 February 2019, Sky Sports Action was rebranded as Sky Sports USA, with a focus on the National Football League (highlighted by the playoffs leading up to Super Bowl LIII) and National Basketball Association coverage (highlighted by the NBA Global Games series at The O2 Arena in London), as well as shoulder and archive programmes.[29][30]
  • Sky Sports Cricket World Cup: From 31 May 2019 to 14 July 2019, Sky Sports Cricket was rebranded as Sky Sports Cricket World Cup. The channel was dedicated to the coverage of the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
  • Sky Sports Netball: From July 2019 to August 2019, Sky Sports Mix was rebranded as Sky Sports Netball. The channel was dedicated to coverage of the 2019 Netball World Cup.

Sky Sports Racing

Sky Sports Racing is the only Sky Sports channel not wholly owned by Sky, although Sky purchased majority control of it in 2017. The channel was founded in 2000 as At The Races by the Go Racing consortium, a partnership of Channel 4, Sky 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 channel - now purely a joint venture between Sky plc 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.

On 1 January 2019, At The Races relaunched as Sky Sports Racing; the relaunch includes wider availability and heavier integration with the remaining Sky Sports channels, the relocation of production facilities to Sky Studios in Isleworth from their former base at SIS's facilities in Milton Keynes, and availability in high definition. The network also acquired rights to fixtures from the Ascot Racecourse.[31][32][33][34]

Defunct channels

PremPlus

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. An internet television service named Now TV was launched in 2012 offering a non-contract subscription to Sky Sports thus making the service a part spiritual successor to PremPlus.

Sky Sports News Radio

Sky Sports News Radio was 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 were sourced from the Sky Sports News newsroom, Sky News Radio and information was shared with SkySports.com, based in the same office. The station's managing editor was Mark Chesworth.

The station closed in September 2014.

Technological advances

Sky Sports channels in HD

Sky Sports Main Event HD launched on 22 May 2006 as Sky Sports HD, and airs live all sports screened in HD like cricket, Premier League and English Football League as well as English Premiership, Super League Rugby and among others. The 2008 Ryder Cup was also screened in HD.

In July 2006, Sky Sports HD2 launched on Sky channel 409, at the same time, the original HD channel was renamed Sky Sports HD1 and 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 season 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 2007 season in February 2007. 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.[35]

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.[36]

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.[37]

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.[24] Sky Sports 4 HD was 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.

On 1 January 2015, Sky Sports News HQ HD, along with Sky News HD were added on Virgin.[38][39]

Sky 3D

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.[40] The channel closed on 9 June 2015.

3D broadcasting tests

On 31 January 2010, the match between Arsenal and Manchester United was shown in 3D in around 30 pubs around the UK. The special glasses were seen being tried by Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger, and the commentators and the studio presenters mentioned of this being a world premiere live sports 3D presentation several times.[41]

4K UHD

On 13 August 2016. Selected Sky Sports events became available to watch in UHD for the first time. 124 Premier League matches were broadcast in the 2016-17 season along with every race, qualifying session and practice in the 2017 Formula One season and England cricket's Test match series against South Africa in summer 2017. Customers need to be Sky Q 2TB multiscreen customers who subscribe to Sky Sports pack in order to receive UHD broadcasts.[42]

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 viewed 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."[43]

Sky later tested 4K by broadcasting a whole week of Ryder Cup in 4K format.[44][45]

It was later reported that Sky would launch their own 4K set top box to broadcast sporting events in mid-end of 2015.[46]

Programming

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 FA Cup, 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.

Football

Premier League

Sky Sports will show 128 live Premier League matches this season.[47] These games are played on Friday nights, Saturday evenings and nights, Sundays and Monday nights, for which Sky broadcasts the dedicated programmes Friday Night Football (FNF), Saturday Night Football (SNF), Renault Super Sunday and Monday Night Football (MNF). David Jones is the presenter of Super Sunday and Monday Night Football and Kelly Cates is the presenter of Friday Night Football and Saturday Night Football.

The main studio pundits include Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Graeme Souness, Roy Keane and Jamie Redknapp. Sky Sports' lead commentators include Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne, Bill Leslie and occasionally, Alan Parry and Daniel Mann while co-commentary is regularly provided by Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Alan Smith, Andy Hinchcliffe, and occasionally, Davie Provan and Danny Higginbotham. On selected games, an "in-game analyst" is used as well as the co-commentator and this role is usually fulfilled by either Jamie Carragher or Jamie Redknapp. Geoff Shreeves, Patrick Davison and Greg Whelan are the main reporters on the Premier League coverage.

Game of the Day/Match Choice
  • Game of the Day: On-air at 8:30 p.m. every Saturday evening with the full 90 minutes of a match selected from the day's 3:00 pm kick-offs.
  • Match Choice: On-air at 10:30 p.m. every Saturday with a choice of extended highlights of every Premier League game played that day except matches shown live on BT Sport. Viewers on the Sky Digital and Virgin Media platforms can choose extended highlights of up to eight games. Viewers who do not use the interactive service will see 30 minutes of highlights from one match.

The lead commentators that appear on Game of the Day and Match Choice, include, Gary Taphouse, Tony Jones, David Stowell, Ian Crocker, Guy Havord, Rob Palmer, Jonathan Beck and Phil Blacker. On midweek matchdays, Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne, Bill Leslie and Daniel Mann feature on these games too. Whilst the co-commentators include, Tony Gale, Keith Andrews, Andy Walker, Garry Birtles, Davie Provan, Don Goodman, Danny Higginbotham, David Phillips, Terry Gibson, Iain Dowie, Efan Ekoku and Andy Hinchcliffe. These are the same feeds as IMG use for the World Feed to broadcast to international audiences.

English Football League

Sky Sports broadcasts exclusive live coverage of the English Football League and EFL Cup. Sky show a total of 148 matches[48] each season, up to 2023-24 from the Championship, League One, League Two, EFL Cup and EFL Trophy. Scott Minto and David Prutton are the presenters of the EFL coverage. Daniel Mann and Gary Weaver are the main commentators with, Bill Leslie, Alan Parry, Rob Hawthorne, Rob Palmer and Guy Havord occasionally commentating. The main studio pundits and co-commentators include Andy Hinchcliffe, Keith Andrews, Danny Higginbotham, Don Goodman and Lee Hendrie. Caroline Barker, Jonathan Oakes, David Craig and Guy Havord are the reporters.

As of the 2018/2019 season, Sky gained rights to show midweek Championship fixtures across interactive and digital platforms. This means that whilst one game is being shown on the main channel, Sky Sports Football, alternative channel, Sky Sports Action, the red button and the Sky Sports app shows coverage of numerous other games on at the same time, with commentary. Commentators of these games include, Guy Havord, Andy Bishop, Rob Palmer, Ian Crocker, Gary Taphouse, David Stowell and Phil Blacker with former La Liga commentators, Kevin Keatings, Jon Driscoll and Dominic Johnson also commentating. Occasionally, Tony Gale features as a co-commentator on these games.

EFL Cup and EFL Trophy

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. The contract also allows Sky Sports to broadcast the semi-finals and final of the EFL Trophy. Laura Woods and Scott Minto are the hosts of games with punditry provided by select guests associated with the clubs involved, and in the latter stages of the competition, pundits from Sky's Premier League output are used on coverage too. Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne, Bill Leslie, Daniel Mann and Gary Weaver are the lead commentators throughout the competition with the co-commentators including, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Alan Smith, Andy Hinchcliffe, Danny Higginbotham, Don Goodman and Lee Hendrie. The main reporter on EFL Cup games is Guy Havord, however David Craig is occasionally called upon to cover for Havord.

David Prutton hosts EFL Trophy coverage alongside select guests related to the clubs involved. Lead commentary comes from Gary Weaver and co-commentary from Keith Andrews, Don Goodman or Lee Hendrie, with Jonathan Oakes and David Craig the reporters.

Scottish Professional Football League

Sky share rights to the Scottish Professional Football League with BT Sport. Both broadcasters show 30 games per season, with Sky having first pick of matches including all Old Firm games shown live on Sky. SPFL Coverage is presented by Eilidh Barbour or occasionally Mark Benstead, alongside studio pundits Kris Commons and Kris Boyd. The lead commentator on coverage is Ian Crocker, or very occasionally, Bill Leslie. The co-commentator is Andy Walker or very occasionally, Davie Provan. Luke Shanley is the main match reporter or occasionally, Soccer Saturday reporter, Charles Paterson also reports.

NIFL Premiership

In February 2017, Sky Sports gained rights to show 5 NIFL Premiership games per season until the end of the 2021/2022 season, as well as live coverage of the Northern Ireland Football League Cup Final. Presentation comes from Graham Little who hosts at the ground. Commentary comes from Northern Ireland national game reporter, Paul Gilmour alongside ex-Northern Irish footballer, Steve Lomas.

Major League Soccer

In 2015, Sky Sports secured rights to broadcast Major League Soccer on a four-year contract starting from March 2015 up until and including the 2019 season. Commentary is taken from the World Feed.

International football

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, under this Sky Sports have highlights of England matches. However, in 2018, Sky won the rights to show the UEFA Nations League meaning all home nations games would be broadcast exclusively by Sky, including England games. England matches in the Nations League are presented by David Jones with pundits including Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp. The commentators include Martin Tyler and Alan Smith with Patrick Davison reporting. For highlights of England matches in the European Qualifiers, there is no studio presentation and Martin Tyler and Alan Smith provide commentary.

All other home nations games are fronted by David Prutton (Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales), Eilidh Barbour (Scotland only) and Scott Minto (Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales) with guest pundits coming from the country associated. Wales's games have commentary provided by Bill Leslie alongside either Danny Gabbidon or Dave Edwards with Geraint Hughes the reporter; Scotland's games have Ian Crocker and Davie Provan as the commentary duo with Luke Shanley reporting on coverage; The Republic of Ireland's commentary duo on Sky Sports consists of Rob Hawthorne and John O'Shea with Guy Havord the reporter, and Northern Ireland's games are commentated on by Daniel Mann and Steve Lomas with Paul Gilmour the reporter.

All home nations games are broadcast across the channels, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Mix. Other UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers matches broadcast on these channels involve countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Portugal or games that kick off at an earlier time than the prime time 7:45 p.m. slot. These games are commentary only broadcasts with no studio presentation. Lead commentators on these games include, Rob Palmer, Ian Crocker, Daniel Mann, Gary Weaver, Bill Leslie, Kevin Keatings, Jon Driscoll, Andy Bishop, Gary Taphouse, Tony Jones, David Stowell, Jonathan Beck and Phil Blacker, whilst co-commentary is provided by Tony Gale, Andy Walker, Don Goodman, Garry Birtles, Andy Hinchcliffe, Terry Gibson, David Phillips and Efan Ekoku. The rest of the UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers are broadcast via the Sky Sports Football Red Button feature or online via the Sky Sports App with World Feed commentary.

Supplementary programming

Soccer AM

Launched in 1995, Soccer AM, is a Saturday morning talk show presented by John "Fenners" Fendley and ex-footballer Jimmy Bullard, with a focus on humorous analysis of British football, largely but not exclusively based around the Premier League.

Soccer Saturday

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, Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas, as well as the likes of Sue Smith, Clinton Morrison, Tony Cottee, Alan McInally and Matt Murray also appearing in the studio. Regular reporters include aforementioned McInally, Cottee and Murray as well as Chris Kamara, Iain Dowie, Neil Mellor, Bianca Westwood, Dickie Davies and Johnny Phillips along with many others. A midweek programme with the same format fronted by Julian Warren, is also broadcast when there are a number of major games taking place, such as on UEFA Champions League nights, and is called Soccer Special. Warren also hosts Soccer Saturday when Stelling is unavailable.

Sunday Supplement

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 Alex Scott & Chris Kamara.

Football presenters

Name Nationality Coverage
Eilidh Barbour Scotland SPFL & Scotland National Games
Kelly Cates Scotland Friday Night Football & Saturday Night Football
David Jones England Super Sunday, Monday Night Football & England National Games
Graham Little

Northern Ireland

NIFL Premiership
Scott Minto England EFL, EFL Cup & Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales National Games
David Prutton England EFL, EFL Trophy & Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales National Games
Laura Woods England EFL Cup

Lead commentators

Commentator Coverage Notes
Martin Tyler Premier League

EFL Cup

ENGLAND

Sky Sports Number 1 Commentator

Most Major Matches

Trophy Lift Commentator

Rob Hawthorne Premier League

EFL (occasional)

EFL Cup

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Sky Sports Number 2 Commentator

Some Major Matches

Bill Leslie Premier League

EFL (occasional)

EFL Cup

SPFL (occasional)

WALES

International matches (non home nations games)

Sky Sports Number 3 Commentator
Daniel Mann Premier League (occasional)

EFL

EFL Cup

NORTHERN IRELAND

International matches (non home nations games)

Sky Sports Number 4 Commentator
Gary Weaver EFL

EFL Cup

EFL Trophy

International matches (non home nations games)

Sky Sports Number 5 Commentator
Alan Parry Premier League (occasional)

EFL (occasional)

Ian Crocker Game of the Day/Match Choice

EFL Championship (Digital & Interactive Platforms)

SPFL

SCOTLAND

International matches (non home nations games)

Rob Palmer Game of the Day/Match Choice

EFL (occasional)

EFL Championship (Digital & Interactive Platforms)

International matches (non home nations games)

Guy Havord Game of the Day/Match Choice

EFL (occasional)

EFL Championship (Digital & Interactive Platforms)

Gary Taphouse Game of the Day/Match Choice

EFL Championship (Digital & Interactive Platforms)

International matches (non home nations games)

Tony Jones Game of the Day/Match Choice

International matches (non home nations games)

David Stowell Game of the Day/Match Choice

EFL Championship (Digital & Interactive Platforms)

International matches (non home nations games)

Studio Pundits/Co-commentators

Name Nat. Role(s) Coverage
Keith Andrews Republic of Ireland Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Game of the Day/Match Choice, EFL & EFL Trophy
Garry Birtles England Co-commentator Game of the Day/Match Choice & International matches (non home nations games)
Kris Boyd Scotland Studio Pundit SPFL
Jamie Carragher

England

Studio Pundit, Co-commentator & In-Game Analyst Premier League, EFL Cup & England National Games
Kris Commons England Studio Pundit SPFL
Tony Gale England Co-commentator Game of the Day/Match Choice, EFL (Digital & Interactive Platforms) & International matches (non home nations games)
Don Goodman England Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Game of the Day/Match Choice, EFL, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy & International matches (non home nations games)
Lee Hendrie England Studio Pundit & Co-commentator EFL, EFL Cup & EFL Trophy
Danny Higginbotham England Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League (occasional), Game of the Day/Match Choice, EFL & EFL Cup
Andy Hinchcliffe England Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, EFL, EFL Cup & International matches (non home nations games)
Roy Keane Republic of Ireland Studio Pundit Premier League
Gary Neville England Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, EFL Cup & England National Games
David Phillips England Co-commentator Game of the Day/Match Choice & International matches (non home nations games)
Davie Provan Scotland Co-commentator Premier League, Game of the Day/Match Choice, SPFL (occasional) & Scotland National Games
Jamie Redknapp England Studio Pundit & In-Game Analyst Premier League, EFL Cup & England National Games
Alan Smith England Co-commentator Premier League, EFL Cup & England National Games
Graeme Souness Scotland Studio Pundit Premier League
Andy Walker Scotland Co-commentator Game of the Day/Match Choice, SPFL & International matches (non home nations games)

Reporters

Reporter Nat. Coverage
Geoff Shreeves

England

Premier League
Patrick Davison

England

Premier League & England National Games
Greg Whelan

England

Premier League
Caroline Barker

England

EFL
Jonathan Oakes

England

EFL & EFL Trophy
David Craig

England

EFL & EFL Trophy
Guy Havord

England

EFL, EFL Cup & Republic of Ireland National Games
Luke Shanley

Scotland

SPFL & Scotland National Games
Paul Gilmour Northern Ireland Northern Ireland National Games
Geraint Hughes England Wales National Games

Cricket

Sky was the first broadcaster to show live coverage of a complete overseas tour involving England when they toured the West Indies in 1990. Since then Sky has acquired the rights to show home international series involving England, South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies at various times as well as showing almost every England overseas tour and ICC tournaments such as the Cricket World Cup, Champions Trophy and T20 World Cup. Sky also shows extensive coverage of county cricket, with over 60 live games each season involving every county in all competitions. The Kia Super League was added to Sky's coverage of Women's cricket in 2018, earning rights to show 12 matches per season. In 2018 Sky Sports won the rights off BT Sport to broadcast all 34 games of the Caribbean Premier League from the 2018 season which continued into the 2019 season.

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's coverage. The ECB have since renewed Sky Sports' deal until 2024 with BBC taking over the rights held by Channel 5 and picking up additional rights.[49] The Fifth Test vs India at the Oval, (commencing 15 August 2014) was the 200th England Test shown live on Sky Sports.

Test cricket coverage is presented by former England captain David Gower and an illustrious commentary team of Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, David "Bumble" Lloyd, Sir Ian Botham, Michael Holding, Shane Warne, Isa Guha, Andrew Strauss and Kumar Sangakkara. Gower himself also appears in the commentary box regularly. The team is completed by Ian Ward, who acts as the main interviewer and secondary presenter when Gower is absent. Michael Atherton, Isa Guha or the aforementioned Ian Ward would usually conduct the post-match presentation after each game. Along with Sky's team, a guest commentator from the touring side also contributes to the coverage such as former internationals Ricky Ponting (Australia), Waqar Younis (Pakistan), Shaun Pollock (South Africa) or Harbhajan Singh (India). Highlights are broadcast in a prime time slot each evening. Ian Ward fronts all of England's home ODI and T20 International games alongside Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd, Shane Warne, Kumar Sangakkara, Andrew Strauss, Rob Key and Mark Butcher along with other international guest analysts from the touring side, with Isa Guha the interviewer and secondary presenter in these formats.

Overseas series involving England are presented from the London studio by Ian Ward or Nick Knight alongside the likes of Mark Butcher, Dominic Cork, Marcus Trescothick and many other guests. One of Ward or Knight would be alongside the likes of Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd or Rob Key reporting from where England would be touring, as they would join the host broadcaster for the series.

Other international cricket is introduced out-of-vision by David Fulton, Mark Butcher or Dominic Cork. This coverage is taken from host broadcasters of that country such as Sky Sport in New Zealand, Supersport in South Africa and Sony Pictures Networks in the West Indies. For Sky Sport in New Zealand the commentary team consists of Ian Smith, Mark Richardson, Simon Doull, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Mike Hesson and Craig Cumming, for SuperSport in South Africa the commentary team consists of Mark Nicholas, Mike Haysman, Pommie Mbangwa, Michael Holding, Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith and for Sony Pictures Networks in the West Indies the commentary team consists of Ian Bishop, Daren Ganga, Jeff Dujon and Sir Viv Richards.

Coverage of county cricket is presented by Nick Knight or Isa Guha. They are joined by an extensive commentary team of, Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd, Kumar Sangakkara, Rob Key, Mark Butcher (who very occasionally presents coverage), Charles Dagnall, Dominic Cork, Marcus Trescothick, Mel Jones, Charlotte Edwards and Ebony Rainford-Brent along with many other guests. The presenter also contributes to commentary too.

Coverage of all Women's cricket on Sky Sports is presented by Isa Guha or occasionally Nick Knight alongside the likes of Charlotte Edwards, Lydia Greenway, Mel Jones and Ebony Rainford-Brent. With Charles Dagnall, Mark Butcher and Rob Key also part of the coverage.

For coverage of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, only matches involving England and the semi-finals and final had a presentation team from Sky Sports with all other games taking the world feed presentation. Ian Ward hosted these games for Sky Sports alongside Nasser Hussain, Michael Atherton, Shane Warne, Andrew Strauss and Rob Key. Games not involving England had out-of-vision continuity provided by Mark Butcher or Dominic Cork. Commentary on all games was provided by the world feed.

"The Cricket Debate" (formerly called "The Verdict") is shown every evening in a prime time slot after every England test match day. Up until the 2019 English cricket season the show was presented by the iconic cricket broadcasting duo of Charles Colvile alongside Bob Willis. From England's tour of New Zealand in 2019 onwards, Colvile presented alongside a variety of Sky Sports as a result of Willis falling ill, which resulted in his death.[50]

Sky Sports additional Cricket programming includes:

  • The Cricket Debate
  • Cricket Classics
  • Masterclasses
  • In The Zone

Rugby union

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.

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.

Sky also hold the rights to tour matches by England, Ireland, Scotland and France, to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (as a part of their contract with SANZAAR) until 2018.

Sky Sports 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.

Rugby union coverage on Sky Sports is fronted by Alex Payne, James Gemmell and Rupert Cox. With guests including Will Greenwood, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Paul Wallace, Scott Quinnell, Pat Sanderson, Marcelo Bosch, Johan Ackermann, Maggie Alphonsi, Rory Lawson, Shane Horgan, Stuart Barnes, Ieuan Evans, Dewi Morris, Frankie Sheahan, Scott Hastings and Alan Quinlan. Lead commentators include Miles Harrison, Rupert Cox, Johnnie Hammond and Martin Gillingham.

Rugby league

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 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 Brian Carney who is joined in the studio by Terry O'Connor, Phil Clarke, Barrie McDermott or Stuart Cummings. Jon Wells provides analysis from the touchscreen regularly. Bill Arthur, Ben Proe or Stuart Pyke lead the commentary team alongside the summarisers, Terry O'Connor, Phil Clarke, Jon Wells, Barrie McDermott and Jodie Cunningham. Jenna Brooks and Fraiser Dainton are the pitch-side reporters.

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.

Beginning in 2012, Sky Sports 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.

Coverage of the Australia and New Zealand's National Rugby League returned to Sky Sports in 2018 on a five-year contract. The deals includes selected matches from the Telstra Premiership plus the NRL Grand Final as well as the State of Origin series, Pacific Tests, Auckland Nines and the All Stars Match.

Motorsport

Sky Sports broadcasts major motorsport events. This includes:

Formula One

In July 2011, Sky Sports acquired joint rights to broadcast Formula One in the United Kingdom from 2012 until 2018.[53] 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 initially meant that Sky Sports F1 showed all races live, with 10 races being shown by both Sky and Channel 4 (who were also televising highlights of all races on a delayed basis).[54][55], however since the start of the 2019 season, sky have had exclusive rights to broadcast every race live except the British GP, which is both live on Sky and Channel 4, however channel 4 still show highlights of both qualifying and the race from ever other GP. Whilst the initial announcement did prove controversial (with early promises that the races wouldn't be uninterrupted by commercials[56] doing little to quell the negative initial reaction from many fans and observers[57]), 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 currently broadcast the entire 2019 season in 4K Ultra-HD, on the Sky Q Silver Ultra-HD package.

Presentation team at Grands Prix:

Sky Sports' additional F1 programming includes:

  • The F1 Show
  • Ted's Notebook
  • Welcome to the Weekend
  • The Inside Line (not a Sky production)

Golf

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 Sports' golf presenters include, Nick Dougherty, Sarah Stirk, Rob Lee and James Haddock. The expert analysts include Paul McGinley, Rich Beem, Mark Roe, David Howell and Tony Johnstone. The lead commentators include Ewen Murray, Richard Boxall and Richard Kaufman, as well as presenter, Rob Lee. The co-commentators include expert analysts, McGinley, Beem, Roe, Howell, Johnstone, and presenter, Nick Dougherty, as well as many other guests, with Wayne Riley and Andrew Coltart providing on-course commentary. Tim Barter and Sarah Stirk are the main interviewers on the golf coverage, with James Haddock reporting on majors for Sky Sports News. Sky Sports also use Golf Channel's commentary for broadcasts of the PGA Tour.

Major championships

Sky Sports has exclusive UK rights for all 4 majors including the US Open, The Open Championship, the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament.[58]

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.

PGA Tour

Sky also have exclusive live UK rights to broadcast the PGA Tour including The Players Championship and PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup until 2022, as well as up to 7 events per year from the LPGA Tour.[59]

European Tour

Sky have rights to at least 32 events on the European Tour until 2022, including the Dubai World Championship and exclusive live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship with highlights only on the BBC.

Ryder Cup

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.[60]

They also broadcast all of the other major professional team events in the sport such as the Presidents Cup, Seve Trophy,[61]Royal Trophy, Omega Mission Hills World Cup and Solheim Cup.[61]

In 2010, Sky Sports broadcast in excess of 150 tournaments from the men's and women's tours.[62]

Darts

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 and 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 the UK Open but since 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, Stuart 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, died in 2018); 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 in 2012. Previously worked for BBC Sport 1978-1994).

Boxing

Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport enjoys an exclusive television deal with Sky Sports through 2021 and provides Sky Sports with upwards of 20 boxing events per year.[63] Some of the coverage is shown on a pay-per-view basis via Sky Sports Box Office. Anna Woolhouse is the lead presenter, alongside former boxers, Johnny Nelson, Spencer Oliver, Paulie Malignaggi, Carl Froch and Tony Bellew, with also the likes of Paul Smith and Matthew Macklin. Commentator Adam Smith is alongside Carl Froch or Matthew Macklin for the primary commentary pairing on main event cards. On larger pay-per view events, Tony Bellew, Paulie Malignaggi or David Haye join the commentary team. Andy Clarke and Matthew Macklin commentate on undercard action. The reporter and post-fight interviewer is Andy Scott.

In April 2019, Sky Sports will shows nine fights of the World Boxing Super Series in 2018-19 season, starting from both semi-finals in Lafayette, USA between the bantamweight: Nonito Donaire against Zolani Tete (for the WBA (world), WBC (diamond), and WBO (world) titles) and super lightweight: Regis Prograis against Kiryl Relikh (for the WBC diamond and WBA world titles).[64] At the finals, the WBSS winners in every different divisions will also take home the greatest prize of boxing Muhammad Ali trophy. Previously, this event has been aired on ITV Box Office in 2017-18 season but ITV didn't want to renewed the contract for this season after shows the 2017-18 super middleweight final, between the both British Callum Smith and George Groves (for The Ring and WBA (super) world titles, won by Smith via KO7).

NFL

Gaelic Games

On 2 April 2014, Sky Sports signed a deal with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to broadcast fixtures from both the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.[65] The deal gave Sky Sports 20 championship matches across both sports, including both semi-finals and both All-Ireland Finals. Sky would have exclusive rights in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK to 14 of these matches, with the remaining six matches being simultaneously broadcast by RTÉ in the Republic of Ireland. The deal covered the years, 2014 to 2016. It was estimated that the GAA would make EUR0.5 million from the deal. The deal led to debate in Ireland, with many loyal fans being unable to watch some key games during the All-Ireland season. The debate was reignited, with Michael Duignan stating publicly on RTÉ: "The biggest disgrace of the weekend was on Saturday evening, that Waterford and Kilkenny (Round 2 hurling match) wasn't shown free-to-air in this country", a statement which resounded with many GAA fans across Ireland and gained much public sympathy, bringing further into question the continuation of the Sky GAA deal in the long term.[66] On the other hand, the GAA was unlikely to receive the same amount of money from RTE as it got from Sky, especially given RTE's increasing emphasis on soccer.

Summary of sports rights

Football

Football broadcasting rights acquired by Sky
Competition Region Broadcast details
Premier League England Wales 2019-2022: 128 live matches per season (Packages B, C, D and E).
UEFA Nations League Europe Exclusive live coverage of all games until 2021[67]
England football team England Exclusive live coverage of all UEFA Nations League and in-season friendly games until 2021.
English Football League England Wales 138 live matches per-season and all 15 play-off matches, including all three finals, until May 2024[68][69][70][71]
EFL Cup England Wales 15 live matches per-season, including semi-finals and final until 2024
EFL Trophy England Wales Live coverage of the semi-final and final until May 2024
Scotland football team Scotland Live coverage of all UEFA Nations League, qualifiers, and friendly games until 2022.
Scottish Premiership Scotland 30 live matches per season to 2019[72] 2020-2025: Live coverage of 48 matches per season, plus all six play-off matches[73]
Wales football team Wales Live coverage of all UEFA Nations League, qualifiers, and friendly games until 2022.
Northern Ireland football team Northern Ireland Live coverage of all UEFA Nations League, qualifiers, and friendly games until 2022.
NIFL Premiership Northern Ireland 5 Live matches per season until the end of 2021/2022 Season
Northern Ireland Football League Cup Northern Ireland NIFL League Cup Final Live
Republic of Ireland football team Republic of Ireland Live coverage of all UEFA Nations League, qualifiers, and friendly games until 2022.
Major League Soccer United States Canada Live up to and including 2019 season[74][75]

Cricket

Event name Country Broadcast Details
ICC Cricket World Cup United Nations Live until 2023[76]
ICC World Test Championship United Nations Live until 2023
ICC Champions Trophy United Nations Live until 2021
ICC T20 World Cup United Nations Live until 2020
ICC Women's World Cup United Nations Live until 2021
ICC Women's T20 World Cup United Nations Live until 2022
ICC U19 World Cup United Nations Live until 2022
England cricket team and England women's cricket team England All home Test, ODIs and T20I matches live until 2024[49] Selected Tests available in 4K.
International Test matches and Limited overs cricket United Nations Live coverage of all England overseas Tours, plus Tests, ODIs, and T20Is from South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand (until 2020)
County Championship England Wales Live until 2024. At least 60 days of domestic cricket each summer covering each of the major competitions
One-Day Cup England Wales Live until 2024
T20 Blast England Wales 36 live matches per season until 2024
The Hundred England Wales Live from 2020-2024
Caribbean Premier League West Indies Cricket Board All 34 matches live in 2019

Rugby union

League Name Country Broadcast Details
IRB Sevens World Series United Nations Live
IRB Junior World Championship United Nations Live
Women's Rugby World Cup United Nations Live
British and Irish Lions United Kingdom Ireland Live in 2017[77]
England Quilter International Series England Contract includes England Saxons, Under 18s, Under 20s & England Women): Live until 2020
The Rugby Championship Argentina Australia NZ fern flag.svg South Africa
SANZAAR Tests United Nations Including tours to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa by England, Scotland, Ireland: Live until 2021
RFU Championship England Live
Super Rugby Australia New Zealand South Africa Argentina Japan 2017-2022: 80 live Super League matches, including Magic Weekend, all play-offs, including the Grand Final
Mitre 10 Cup New Zealand Live
Currie Cup South Africa Live

Golf

Event Country Broadcast Details
U.S. Masters United States Live coverage in 2019
The Open Championship United Kingdom Live coverage until 2021
U.S. Open United States Live coverage in 2019
PGA Championship United States Live coverage in 2019
Ryder Cup United States Europe Live until 2022
World Golf Championships United Nations Live until 2022
PGA Tour United States Other events Live until 2022
European Tour Europe Other events Live until 2022
Scottish Open Scotland Live until 2022
Wales Open Wales Live on Sky Sports
Women's British Open United Kingdom Live on Sky Sports
Irish Open Golf Republic of Ireland Live on Sky Sports

Motorsport

Series Name Nationality Broadcast Details
Formula One United Kingdom All races live until 2024 on Sky Sports F1

All events exclusively available in 4K. Exclusive live rights from 2019 to 2024 with British Grand Prix and highlights free to air

FIA Formula 2 Championship (previously known as GP2) United Nations Live on Sky Sports F1[78]
FIA Formula 3 Championship (previously known as GP3) United Nations Live on Sky Sports F1
IndyCar Series United States Live on Sky Sports F1 from 2019

Boxing

Series Name Nationality Broadcast Details
World Championship Boxing United Nations 12 world title fights Live from Germany
Matchroom Sport England 20 shows a year live until 2021
World Boxing Super Series United Nations 9 shows (6 semi-finals and 3 finals) live in 2018-19 season

Rugby league

Competition Country Broadcast Details
Super League England France 80 live games per season between 2017 and 2021.[79]
Championship England Live until 2021
Challenge Cup United Kingdom France Russia One fifth round match, one sixth round match and two quarter-finals Live until 2021 plus highlights of the final
World Club Challenge United Nations Live
National Rugby League Australia New Zealand Live until 2022

Horse racing

Race name Country Broadcast Details
Dubai World Cup United Arab Emirates Live coverage
Sky Sports Racing United Kingdom Live coverage from 29 UK courses including, Chepstow and Lingfield

Equestrianism

Race name Country Broadcast Details
Horse of the Year Show England Live
Hickstead Derby England Live

Darts

Tournament Country Broadcast Details
PDC World Darts Championship United Nations Live until 2025
Premier League United Kingdom Republic of Ireland Netherlands Germany Live until 2025
Grand Slam of Darts England Live until 2025
World Matchplay United Nations Live until 2025
World Grand Prix United Nations Live until 2025

Triathlon

Series Name Country Broadcast Details
British Triathlon Super Series United Kingdom Highlights

American football

Competition Country Broadcast Details
Super Bowl United States Live until 2019;[80][81]
NFL playoffs United States Live until 2019
NFL regular season United States Live until 2019[82]
NFL London Games United Kingdom Both Tottenham games exclusively live in 2019[80]

Gaelic Games

Series Name Country Broadcast Details
GAA Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland 20 live games including All-Ireland football and hurling semi-finals and final until 2022.

Netball

Series Name Country Broadcast Details
Netball Superleague England Wales Live Coverage

Badminton

Series Name Country Broadcast Details
National Badminton League England Live Coverage

Bowls

Basketball

Series Name Country Broadcast Details
NBA United States Canada Live Coverage until 2022
WNBA United States Canada Live Coverage until 2022

Previous coverage

Football

Premier League

Between the 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons, Sky Sports broadcast a 3 pm Saturday match exclusively for subscribers in the Republic of Ireland. The coverage went out under the Premier League Live banner and was anchored by the match commentators. The rights for these games were taken over by Premier Sports for the 2019-20 season onwards.

UEFA Champions League

Sky Sports covered the UEFA Champions League between 2003 and 2015 but in 2013 Sky was outbid by BT Sport and the rights transferred at the end of the 2014/15 tournament.[83] with highlights on ITV Sport. Since 2018 until at least 2021, however, BT Sport have also acquired the rights to the highlights to the Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

FA Cup and FA Community Shield

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 so they went to ESPN UK. In 2014-15 the rights transferred from ITV and ESPN to BBC and BT Sport after bidding together. From 2020, ITV won the rights back off BT Sport meaning live coverage of all FA Cup games is on free-to-air television with BBC and ITV sharing the rights.

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 transferred to ITV and then BT Sport, then later back to ITV.

England National Football Team

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 until 2008, and currently remain free to air with ITV owning the rights.

Sky Sports currently still provide coverage of England matches, however not nearly on the same scale as in the 1990s. They are limited to just UEFA Nations League and mid-season international friendlies which, thanks to the aforementioned UEFA Nations League competition, have not occurred as often as they once did.

La Liga

Sky Sports was the long-time home of La Liga, the top-tier of Spanish domestic football, having broadcast the competition for 20 years. From the 2018-19 season, the rights to broadcast La Liga were won by Eleven Sports, then subsequently Premier Sports. During Sky Sports' tenure as La Liga broadcaster, live matches were broadcast on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. Towards the end of the contract, Sky Sports broadcast up to 10 live matches each round with the coverage handled by the commentators who included Rob Palmer, Kevin Keatings, Jon Driscoll and Dominic Johnson. They would usually be joined by summarisers, Gerry Armstrong, Terry Gibson, David Phillips, Garry Birtles and Efan Ekoku. Highlights and weekly review of La Liga, were shown on Revista de La Liga, presented by the Spanish football expert Guillem Balagué.

Eredivisie

In 2014, Sky Sports signed an exclusive 4-year deal[84] to show live matches from the Dutch top-flight league Eredivisie. The commentary was taken from the world feed provided by IMG Worldwide. Starting with the 2018-19 season, live and exclusive rights were won by Eleven Sports.[85]

Chinese Super League

In 2016, Sky Sports added another competition to its unrivaled schedule of live football with the addition of the Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL).[86] Commentary was from the World Feed, usually by Wayne Boyce, Paul Walker or Dan O'Hagan. From the start of the 2019 season, live and exclusive rights were won by Eleven Sports.[85]

Cricket

Indian Premier League

In 2015 Sky Sports won exclusive UK rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League for 3 years taking the rights from then broadcaster, ITV4 and in 2018, these rights were renewed on a multi-year deal, however as of the 2019 season, Star India will broadcast all matches through Star Gold and Hotstar. BT Sport also won rights to broadcast the competition in 2019.

Rugby union

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 to 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 Six 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.

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 shared the rights to the newly formed Rugby Champions Cup with BT Sport, until the 2017-18 season. Sky exclusively broadcast up to 30 pool matches, 2 quarter-finals and 1 semi-final from each competition with the finals being shown by both. Sky also received first pick on Challenge Cup matches involving Premiership Rugby clubs. From the 2018-19 season, Sky Sports no longer have the shared rights to the Champions Cup, these passed to Channel 4 and so did the contracts to cover Ireland's Autumn Internationals after 2018.

Commencing from the 2014-15 season, Sky Sports began showing games from the Pro14 (covering 30 matches alongside the current terrestrial broadcasters BBC Wales, S4C, TG4, BBC NI and BBC Alba). From 2018, Premier Sports broadcast all 152 games live.

Rugby league

Until 2012, Sky aired Championship and Northern Rail Cup games on Thursdays and Sundays, until the rights for these were purchased by Premier Sports.

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 were 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 and Premier Sports had also signed a deal to cover the 2014 and 2016 Four Nations.

Tennis

For nearly 25 years, 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. Sky also previously covered Davis Cup tennis but these rights moved to the BBC and Eurosport.[87] Sky was the broadcaster of ATP Tour events from 2002 until 2018, when Amazon Prime Video became the exclusive UK broadcaster.[88]

Ice hockey

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.

WWE

In 1989, Sky acquired the rights to WWE. Sky Sports Arena was considered the home of WWE programming on Sky, as the majority of the programmes were shown on it.

Part of the deal with Sky stated that major PPV's such as WrestleMania, Survivor Series, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam were part of the Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view service, and that SmackDown's first broadcast moved from Sky One to Sky Sports. As part of the deal, Raw was shown live on Sky Sports Arena early Tuesday morning because of the time difference. SmackDown! was 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 was 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.[89]

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.

When WWE Heat ended in June 2008, it was replaced with WWE Vintage Collection, a programme which showcases classic archive matches from the extensive WWE Video Library.

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.[90]

WWE pay-per-views were previously shown on Sky Sports for free roughly every five 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.

On 20 June 2019, it was announced that WWE would be leaving Sky Sports after 30 years, with BT Sport taking over the rights from January 2020.[91]

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Notes

External links


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