Sky Sports is British Sky Broadcastings premier 24 hour sports news channel in England and Ireland. British Sky Broadcasting is a satellite pay TV company and together with Sky Sports it also has Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra which are available like a Premium package over the basic Sky Sports. Since its creation in 1990, Sky Sports has played a very prominent role in commercializing British sport. This channel has additionally been a key player for making a paradigm shift in the organizational structure of sports broadcasting by being the first ones to support and encourage the Premier League to break out from the Football League in 1992.
Sky Sports began as The Sports Channel in March 1990 as Sky Television did not have an exclusive sports channel initially. Sports programs were transmitted occasionally by this channel but rather than launching a sports channel of their very own, Sky Television chose to invest in Eurosport. With the launch of Sky Television in February 1989, Eurosport was marketed as one of its 4 channels.
British Sky Broadcasting and Sky Television announced a merger in the year 1990. Initially unveiled as British Sky Broadcasting, the Sports Channel was rebranded Sky Sports when it was finally launched in April, 1991 on the SES Astra IB Satellite television. Eurosport discontinued its partnership with Sky Television upon the launch of Sky Sports but remained available on the SES Astra platform.
Sky Sports quickly turned out to be one of the most successful channels of the Sky system. It was from September 1992, that Sky began selling Sky Sports as a subscription channel. After Sky Movies, this was the 2nd channel in the Sky system that was encrypted via the Video Crypt system. Even though Sky Sports began by broadcasting sports such as golf and rugby, it soon obtained the rights to air Italian and German League Football thereby increasing its popularity base.
In 1992/93, with the formation of the Premier League, Sky Sports became the most favored sports channel following a purchase of the exclusive broadcasting rights of Premier League Football in England and Ireland for a period of 5 years.
Sky Sports also manages Sky Sports news, the Round-the-clock sports news channel which was launched in 1998. The look of this news channel was overhauled in the year 2007. This was just in time with the football season. Although the main structure of presentation was preserved, the color displays of the information box, the ticker at the bottom on the screen and also the breaking news ticker were changed. A new studio, new theme tune and new title sequences were also a part of the revamping. However the broadcasting format remained at the 4:3 and did not get up-graded to the Widescreen 16:9 formats.
Till date Sky Sports is associated more with football than with any other sports. It’s perhaps because of this reason that this channel does tend to experience some decrease in viewership throughout the summers when no football is played.