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 is provided as part of basic packages. Sky Sports is perhaps best known for its Premier League football coverage. The Sky Sports network is managed by Barney Francis.
Sky Sports 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). Sky Sports 1 mainly broadcasts Football.
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 2 mainly broadcasts Cricket and Rugby Union.
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. Sky Sports 3 mainly broadcasts Tennis and American sporting events such as the NFL and WWE.
Sky Sports 4
Sky Sports 4 (originally launched as Sky Sports Xtra) is the fourth Sports channel launched by Sky. 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.
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.