It hailed its surprise capture of the Champions League as “the real game-changer” but as BT Sport prepares to broadcast the last 16 of the competition,Inside Sport can expose the shocking viewing figures from the first season of its £897 million deal.
UK television ratings for the Champions League have, with the play-off round and group stages attracting a fraction of the audience – including those games made available free-to-air. While a significant drop-off was inevitable, the scale of it has provoked a Uefa rethink about how the competition rights will be sold at the next auction this year.
A key element of BT’s triumphant bid for the Champions League and Europa League 2½ years ago was its pledge to show some matches – at least 12 in the former competition – free-to-air to reach the widest possible audience. But its BT Showcase channel has proven a complete flop, attracting an average peak audience of less than 200,000 for its Champions League coverage, compared to the average peak of 4.4 million who watched the play‑off round and group stages on ITV last year.
Sky Sports Mix is a new sports channels from Sky, which will be available to all Sky subscribers, regardless of their subscription package.
Sky Sports Mix will bring some of the world’s biggest sporting events to all Sky TV customers in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost.
Sky Sports Mix will show a mix of live sport including football, golf from Europe and the US, international cricket and more, and will including Premier League matches to non-sports subscribers for the first time.
Sky said the new channel will offer a “select number” of live Premier League and Football League matches, as well as regular live football from competitions including Italy’s La Liga, the US’s MLS and the Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Sky Sports Mix’s launch comes as part of Sky’s annual package changes and price increases, scheduled for the 1st June 2016. This new channel may help soften the blow with the annual price increase of Skys packages – details of which are expected within the next week.
Sky Sports will kick off its biggest ever season of Sky Bet Football League with three live matches across the opening weekend, beginning with Brighton and Hove Albion’s home match against Nottingham Forest on Friday 7 August.
Sky will show 19 of the Sky Bet Championship clubs by the start of October, and as part of the initial selection of 16 matches to be shown live, there are also matches from League One and League Two.
Sky Sports’ coverage of the Football League will include the analysis and expert views of Don Goodman, Peter Beagrie and Andy Hinchcliffe, and hosted by Simon Thomas.
Sky Sports announce first batch of live Premier League matches for the new season
Sky Sports will show every team live by the end of September 2015.
The two broadcasters (Sky and BT) will pay an average of £6.5m per game: an average that will rise next season to more than £10m per game following the landmark £5.14bn TV deal that was announced in February.
OPENING WEEKEND ON SKY Sat 8: Chelsea v Swansea City (5.30pm) Sun, Aug 9: Arsenal v West Ham United (1.30pm) Sun, Aug 9: Stoke City v Liverpool (4pm) Aug 10: West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City (8pm)
Sky Sports’ live Premier League fixtures:
Sat 8: Chelsea v Swansea City (5.30pm)
Sun 9: Arsenal v West Ham United (1.30pm)
Sun 9: Stoke City v Liverpool (4pm)
Mon 10: West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City (8pm)
Fri 14: Aston Villa v Manchester United (7.45pm)
Sun 16: Crystal Palace v Arsenal (1.30pm)
Sun 16: Manchester City v Chelsea (4pm)
Mon 17: Liverpool v Bournemouth (8pm)
Sun 23: West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea (1.30pm)
Sun 23: Everton v Manchester City (4pm)
Mon 24: Arsenal v Liverpool (8pm)
Sat 29: Tottenham Hotspur v Everton (5.30pm)
Sun 30: Southampton v Norwich City (1.30pm)
Sun 30: Swansea City v Manchester United (4pm)
Sat 12: Manchester United v Liverpool (5.30pm)
Sun 13: Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur (1.30pm)
Sun 13: Leicester City v Aston Villa (4pm)
Mon 14: West Ham United v Newcastle United (8pm)
Sat 19: Manchester City v West Ham United (5.30pm)
Sun 20: Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace (1.30pm)
The 2015 United States Open Championship will be the 115th U.S. Open, scheduled to be played June 18–21 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, southwest of Tacoma on the shore of Puget Sound.