Friday, Jul 26 03:20pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

SKY Sport to launch dedicated motorsport channel

A dedicated motorsport channel is one new addition in an overhaul to the SKY Sport landscape next month.


The subscription-based service said it’s “supercharging” the line-up with dedicated channels for rugby, netball, cricket, golf, netball and several other sports.


A dedicated SKY Sport News Channel will also be included alongside the existing two ESPN channels, ESPN 1 and ESPN 2.


Pop-up channels will continue to feature for key events like the Olympic Games, which takes place in Tokyo next year.


“We already have nationwide reach and a reliable service that we know our customers value,” newly appointed SKY Television Chief Executive Martin Stewart said this week.


“By enhancing the channel line-up we’re giving them even more sport, better content discovery, and in glorious HD as well.


“The depth and breadth of our sports offer is second to none, and we continue to add more. We were delighted to announce our six-year deal with Cricket Australia last week, including the iconic Boxing Day Tests back for the first time since 1987, and there’s more to come.


“Delivering the best sport to our customers and helping our sports partners grow their sport is what we’re here for.


“The Sky Sport News channel is an exciting new initiative. We will have daily news from New Zealand and around the world, expert opinion and analysis, exclusive interviews, and a raft of features to keep every keen sports fan ‘in the know’.”


A “new and improved” mobile-based SKY Sport Now app (formerly SKY GO) will also be part of the refresh for live and on-demand broadcasting. It also replaces the Fan Pass service, which only offered viewing of four channels.


Users will be able to stream all 12 channels with the ability to cast to bigger screens. Pricing will be available for weekly ($19.99) or monthly (49.99) as well as a special annual deal too (12 months at $39.99 per month).


Replays, highlights, features and documentaries will also be available on-demand.


“Sports fans are increasingly mobile, and often time poor,” Stewart said.


“Young fans in particular are looking for a range of experiences. SKY Sport Now is one way we can make sport more accessible, exciting and appealing.”


At a press conference this week Stewart said “we’re not in the business of losing rights.”


It comes as telco Spark looks to expand their portfolio of online-only streaming broadcasts, which includes but is not limited to the Formula 1 World Championship, FIA Formula 2 Championship, FIA Formula 3 Championship, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and the highly lucrative Rugby World Cup.


SKY Sport currently holds the rights to the Supercars Championship, IndyCar Series, NASCAR, MotoGP, World Superbikes, British Superbikes and IMSA.


“We will be able to pay what needs to be paid,” Stewart said of broadcasting rights.


“Frankly, if somebody out-bids us they're going to go broke. So I'm pretty confident in where we are.”


The changes come into effect from 1 August. 


The full new channel line-up is:

  • Sky Sport News
  • Sky Sport 1 - Rugby 24/7
  • Sky Sport 2 - Cricket 24/7
  • Sky Sport 3 - Home of Netball
  • Sky Sport 4 - Home of Rugby League
  • Sky Sport 5 - Home of Motorsport
  • Sky Sport 6 - Golf 24/7
  • Sky Sport 7 - Football 24/7
  • Sky Sport 8 - Best of The Rest
  • Sky Sport 9 - Best of The Rest
  • ESPN
  • ESPN 2

Photo: John Cote