Sky Sports is British Sky Broadcasting’s 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 over the basic Sky Sports. Since its inception in 1990, Sky Sports has played a very dominant role in commercializing British sport. This channel has also been instrumental 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 an exclusive sports channel in the beginning. Sports programs were broadcast occasionally 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 as one of its four channels.
British Sky Broadcasting and Sky Television announced a merger in the year 1990. Initially launched 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 continued to be available on the SES Astra platform.
Sky Sports soon 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 second channel in the Sky system that was encrypted via the Video Crypt system. Though Sky Sports began by airing 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, with the formation of the Premier League, Sky Sports became the most popular sports channel following the acquisition of the exclusive broadcasting rights of Premier League Football in England and Ireland for a period of five years.
Sky Sports also operates Sky Sports news, the 24 hour sports news channel which was launched in 1998. The look of this news channel was revamped in the year 2007. This was just in time with the football season. Though the main structure of presentation was maintained, the color displays of the information box, the ticker at the bottom of the screen and 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 a 4:3 and did not get upgraded to the Widescreen 16:9 formats.
Till date Sky Sports is associated more with football than with any other sports. It is perhaps because of this reason that this channel does tend to suffer from some loss in viewership during the summers when no football is played.