Sky Sports could have done without the battering it received from Michael Duignan on the Sunday Game at the weekend, just on the eve of revealing details of an overall new structure and the creation of ten new channels.
That GAA coverage will now be in with live action from the Guinness Pro 12, European Cup Rugby, boxing and the NFL on two new channels Sky Action and Sky Arena.
The Premier League which has been the mainstay of Sky Sports coverage will now have its own designated channel, as well as cricket, formula one and golf.
The new channel line up goes live on July 18th and will appear on programme guides with no action needed from consumers and at no additional cost for at least the next twelve months.
British customers will have an option to get a small reduction by picking specific channels and not others but that option is not likely to be available any time soon for Irish customers.
“Ireland is a different market and has additional content including 3pm kick offs in the Premier League which are not available in the UK,” explained Sharon McHugh, Head of PR for Sky Ireland speaking to Sport for Business last night.
There will also be an upgrade to the Sky Sports App on mobile, a critical element for younger viewers.
This cohort watched nine per cent less ‘traditional’ television in the past year according to recent statistics from Ofcom in the UK and moving to online and mobile distribution is an essential tactic now for channels like Sky Sports.
Those who still argue against the idea of having to be tied into a sky contract to watch games like Waterford against Kilkenny last weekend or Cork and Mayo in the Football Championship qualifiers in the near future may take some comfort from the fact that watching through Sky’s Now TV OTT service can now be done for the cost of a €10 day pass, if they can’t get to games.
“We’re giving even more choice and channels to our customers at the same price for another 12 months,” said Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis.
“On top of that we have new dedicated channels, launching a new way to watch the best live action and offering even better digital products too.”
“The new channel line-up is great news for Irish viewers who will get more sporting action than ever,” added JD Buckley, Managing Director of Sky Ireland.
“In addition to 159 Premier League matches of which 3pm Saturday matches are exclusive to Irish viewers, customers will now be able to enjoy GAA All-Ireland Senior Championship action and the best rugby, including PRO12 and EPRC on two new dedicated channels Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Arena.”
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