Sky will reportedly drop the numbered sports channels and instead theme each around a different sport. Sky Sports Football, anyone?

Sky is planning a major overhaul of its sports channels, including rebranding them and offering cheaper packages.

According to The Guardian, Sky will replace its numbered channels (Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 etc) with ones themed around individual sports, similar to the existing Sky Sports F1 channel. The channels will reportedly be called Sky Sports Football (which will have two channels), Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Cricket. A new channel called Sky Sports Arena will show other sports including rugby and tennis.

The Guardian claims Sky will also offer each channel individually, with the cheapest package starting at £18 a month.

This not only allows Sky to reduce its prices, the company can also determine how popular each sport is, and hence how valuable the rights to major events are.

Sky declined to comment.

The cost of live Premiership rights has skyrocketed in recent years. Two years ago, Sky shelled out £4.2bn for the live rights to Premier League matches - that's 83 per cent more than it paid for the previous multi-year deal. However, despite the introduction of new technologies such as 4K and split-screen, viewing figures for football as a whole have declined.

Some analysts think Sky is falling victim to the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which offer unlimited viewing for as little as £6 a month. Though neither focuses on sport, Amazon does offer live action courtesy of Eurosport Player, which you have to pay extra for.

Sport - especially Premier League football - has been seen as the one area where streaming services can't compete with the pay-TV providers such as Sky and BT. 


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jjbomber's picture

Sky Sports Football

The best news in ages, as non soccer fans can opt out. I have long complained to Sky that there should be an option to opt out of soccer in return for half price Sky Sports. It has always falled on deaf ears. Well, maybe not.

Big Aura's picture

Very interesting. It’s a

Very interesting. It’s a funny one. I actually think that football isn’t as popular as it was 15-20 years ago. People (me included) still love it, but I get the sense that when I was 20, pretty much everyone watched football (and very frequently). I get the sense that millennials (and I hate that term) are not as interested. Social media, retro bicycles, avocados (for which they’ve been bizarrely shamed), full-sleeve tattoos, artisan gin, artesian water, cereal cafés, binge-watching better quality TV etc., etc. are all compete for their time and money. In that time, football has become more and more expensive. So faced with more alternatives and an ever-upwards spiral in football costs, it’s easier to dip in and out. Or not at all.

Sky are fully engaged in trying to figure it out and how to solve it, but the simplest solution is not to pay £4.2squillion in a bidding war with BT which means they need to charge £100 a month for a full on 4k sport package. Personally, I don’t have time for sky sports. In a bad month, I’ll watch one match, and in a good one- maybe 3? For my needs, NowTV is brilliant – but the day pass is a waste, I’ve got small kids, and wife who hates football and lots of other jobs that need doing, so the idea of watching more than 1 match in 24 hours is laughable. But the EPL loves it – sky and BT fight it out, and the clubs and players cream it in.