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 along with Sky Sports it also has Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra which are available as a Premium package above the basic Sky Sports. Since its creation in 1990, Sky Sports has played an extremely dominant 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 to support and encourage the Premier League to break away from the Football League in 1992.
Sky Sports began as The Sports Channel in March 1990 as Sky Television did not have a privileged sports channel in the beginning. Sports programs were transmitted sometimes from this channel but instead of launching a sports channel of their own, Sky Television made a decision to invest in Eurosport. Upon the launch of Sky Television in February 1989, Eurosport was marketed as one of its four channels.
British Sky Broadcasting and Sky Television announced a merger in 1990. Initially launched as British Sky Broadcasting, the Sports Channel was rebranded Sky Sports when it was eventually launched in April, 1991 on the SES Astra IB Satellite tv. Eurosport terminated its partnership with Sky Television upon the launch of Sky Sports but remained located 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 like a subscription channel. After Sky Movies, it was the 2nd channel in the Sky system which was encrypted through the Video Crypt system. Even 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 popular sports channel following the purchase of the exclusive broadcasting rights of Premier League Football in England and Ireland for the period of five years.
Sky Sports also manages Sky Sports news, the 24 hour sports news channel which was launched in 1998. The design of this news channel was overhauled during 2007. It was just in time with the football season. Though the main structure of presentation was maintained, the colour displays on the information box, the ticker towards the bottom of the screen and the breaking news ticker were changed. A brand new studio, new theme tune and new title sequences were additionally a part of the revamping. Nevertheless the broadcasting format remained at the 4:3 and failed to get upgraded on 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 during the summers when no football is played.