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Sky Sports is the most beloved sports channel in the UK and Ireland alongside BT Sport. It’s the go-to-channel for fans who follow cricket, football, rugby, golf, and any other sport. This gigantic network has been around for the last 30 years and has transformed the way people consume sports content over the years. From cable tv network to satellite channels to its own streaming network, Sky Sports really has come a long way.
Overall, the network offers ten channels which include the dedicated Sky Sports News channel along with Sports F1 channel. Apart from these two crucial offerings, there’s exclusive Premier League coverage along with rugby and cricket.
What does Sky Sports offer?
Sky Sports offers premium sports channels that offer exclusive broadcasts of sporting events across the UK. The channels from the network are available as subscription services added on either the Sky TV network or BT TV, TalkTalk TV or Virgin media. All these streaming services work on a contract basis. However, if you wish to access Sky Sports without a contract, you can do so via the NOW TV mobile app.
Sky Sports has been at the center of the commercialization of British sport since 1991. Over the years it has earned rights to broadcast some of the leading sports competitions including the premier league which broke away from the Football League back in 1992.
For three decades, Sky Sports has been home to the most beloved league in England. Its success attracted interest from over the globe as a result, Comcast acquired the network a few years ago.
Under its impressive portfolio, Sky Sports offers Cricket, Golf, Action and Arena, F1, and Premium League packages as part of the basic Sky package. Under this package, you get access to Sky Sports Racing, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Mix.
Sky Sports website is part of the bigger Sky Network and thus follows the color combination as the main network. The red and purple palette is present throughout the website and is visible on banners on the homepage as well as on the inner categories.
Under the hero section, you can find a static banner with videos of different sports playing on the TV. Text placement and graphics are brilliantly done. It’s quite intuitive and makes you stick around watching the hero section for a while. On the homepage banner, the prices are made clear along with other features on the network, so you don’t have to visit any other page for more information.
If you scroll down, you’ll find seven vertical thumbnails highlighting different channels which include Sky Sports, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Golf. If you scroll further, you’ll find the same banners with pricing on the right with the CTA suggesting ‘Add Complete Sports’ in the button.
As you scroll further, you’ll find upcoming sports event with schedule underneath which is further complemented by an immersive banner which highlights the USPs.
Here comes the meatiest part on the network – Content. The emergence of BT Sport has enabled Sky Sports to dig deeper in terms of their broadcasting prowess. The BT Network is catching up fast and thus Sky is looking to expand its content portfolio every year. In this section, I’d like to discuss with you the seven major reasons why sports lovers tune into Sky Sports.
The Sky Sports Main Event channel offers highlights and showcases the best events happening across the network. If you want to watch highlights and other pieces, this channel is the go-to-place.
The star attraction on the network is the Premier League. Thus, there’s a dedicated channel which broadcasts Premier League matches live. As for the current season, Sky has the rights to telecast 128 matches with 124 of them being available in 4K quality.
Unlike the Premier League, football channel covers 138 EFL games along with 15 EFL play-off matches. You can even watch EFL Trophy, the EFL Cup, UEFA Nations League, International friendlies and MLS. Thus, this channel has content from the second division as opposed to the first division i.e. the Premier League.
Sky Sports has a dedicated cricket channel that broadcasts exclusive matches happening in the country. It covers ODIs, Tests, T20s, County Championship, One-Day Cup, T20 Blast, Women’s Super League, Caribbean Premier League, ICC Cricket World Cup and Women’s World Cup. Thus, the cricket channel is truly a complete package.
Formula 1 was under free-to-air coverage by BBC and Channel 4. However, now Sky has become the exclusive channel for Formula 1 coverage on British television. All the races are available in 4k and Sky even offers race highlights, pre and post-race analysis along with other featured documentaries.
Sky Sports Golf provides live coverage of golf events including the popular Ryder Cup, PGA, European Tours, The Open and the US Open. Thus, it offers coverage of all the major Golf tournaments happening across the globe.
Action and Arena
Under this channel, you’ll find a host of sports including wrestling, rugby league, rugby union, basketball, tennis, darts, swimming, boxing and even motorsports.
Apart from these major channels, there are other supporting channels such as Sky Sports Mix, Sky Sports News, and Sky Sports Racing which has dedicated programs and highlights from other channels throughout the day.
All of the Sky Sports channels are available in HD. HD is the standard quality, however, most of the major coverage offers you to watch content in 4K if your device is compatible. If you want a middle ground between HD and 4K, you can even opt for Ultra HD given you have suitable equipment. For pure 4K experience, you need 4K TV along with Sky Sports package and Sky Q box as that’s the standard box through which 4K viewing is possible.
Sky Sports on mobile is an out of the box experience. Using the Sky GO app, you can access all the channels available in the package. The user interface is captivating and streams are of great quality. I stream premier league on the go on my Pixel 3a and I don’t have any complaints about the quality. It’s simply top-notch.
Having said that many people send queries asking if there are inexpensive ways to watch Sky Sports? Well, I do understand your question and can relate to your feeling. Sky Sports as a network is quite expensive as compared to BT Sport. Thus, there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to find alternative ways. Below are certain ways in which you can access Sky Sports:
- Sky Sports via Sky TV
- Sky Sports on Virgin Media TV
- Sky Sports on BT TV
- Sky Sports on TalkTalk TV
- NOW TV
Among all these options, I love the NOW TV network which provides the Sky Sports Pass so you can access all the Sky Sports channels without any contract. It operates on a monthly pass which renews automatically if you forget to cancel the service. You can decide the duration of the pass, it can be for a month and even for a single day – suitable for a one-day event.
Sky Sports as part of the Sky Network is available on a wide range of platforms such as iPhones, Amazon Fire tablets and Android phones via the app. I’d recommend you go for Mini Q boxes if you don’t have a 4K TV as they are a great way to tie down all TVs in your home with one main connection and tiny supporting connections.
Plans & Pricing
As mentioned earlier, Sky Sports is expensive and much of it is due to billions of dollars that the network spends on broadcasting rights. You can start your Sky Sports journey with an 18-month contract with starts at £23/month or you can pay £30/month for no contract. Apart from this, if you want to pay less, you can pay for a single channel dedicated to a certain sport. So, if you want to customize as per your needs, you can do that. However, I don’t feel that individual channels will help save a considerable amount or offer better value.
Suggestions I have for Sky Sports
I don’t have anything specific for the network as I can see them doing great in most of the areas. The only aspect which rubs a user the wrong way is the pricing. However, given the amount they pay for broadcasting rights, that has to translate in the subscription rates.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop that fulfills your sports content needs, Sky Sports is the ideal option for you. However, BT Sport in recent times has become a tough competitor and is fostering a deeper connection with its audience thanks to better quality coverage. So, if you want to watch wrestling or UFC, you’d really want to think twice before making a decision.