Sky Sports is British Sky Broadcastings premier 24 hour sports news channel in England and Ireland. British Sky Broadcasting is actually a satellite pay TV company and together with Sky Sports it also has Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra that exist like a Premium package over the basic Sky Sports. Since its inception in 1990, Sky Sports has played an extremely prominent role in commercializing British sport. This channel has also been a key player in 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 was lacking an exclusive sports channel initially. Sports programs were broadcast sometimes by this channel but instead of launching a sports channel of their own, Sky Television chose to invest in Eurosport. Upon the launch of Sky Television in February 1989, Eurosport was marketed among its 4 channels.
British Sky Broadcasting and Sky Television announced a merger in the year 1990. Initially launched as British Sky Broadcasting, the Sports Channel was relabeled Sky Sports when it was eventually 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 continued to be available on the SES Astra platform.
Sky Sports quickly turned out to be one of the most successful channels in the Sky system. It was from September 1992, that Sky began selling Sky Sports like a subscription channel. After Sky Movies, it was the second channel in the Sky system which was encrypted through the Video Crypt system. Though Sky Sports began by broadcasting sports such as golf and rugby, it soon acquired the rights to air Italian and German League Football thereby increasing its popularity base.
In 1992/93, together 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 the duration of five years.
Sky Sports also operates Sky Sports news, the 24 hour sports news channel which had been launched in 1998. The design of this news channel was revamped during 2007. It was just in time with the football season. Although the main structure of presentation was maintained, the colour displays on the information box, the ticker towards 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 portion of the revamping. However the broadcasting format remained at the 4:3 and failed to get upgraded to the Widescreen 16:9 formats.
Till date Sky Sports is associated more with football compared to every other sports. It’s perhaps due to this reason why this channel does tend to suffer from some loss in viewership during the summers when no football is played.