Sky Sports has secured six long-term rights agreements across six different sports including the British & Irish Lions, Super League rugby, England overseas cricket, Scottish football, speedway and WWE.
The deals will further strengthen the unrivalled breadth of sports coverage available to Sky Sports subscribers and come on the back of strong growth in audiences.
In the last six months of 2013, Sky Sports enjoyed its highest share of viewing for six years, including increased audiences for live Premier League football and its biggest-ever audience for rugby union.
Sky’s announcement of these six new deals comes on the day that BSkyB reported an 18% fall in pre-tax profits to £527m in the six months to the end of December.
The fall has been caused partly by the increased costs in Premier League rights which was incurred in the broadcaster’s battle with newcomers BT Sport.
These six fresh agreements add to Sky’s bumper line-up of live sport with highlights in 2014 to include every match in the ICC World Twenty20, the launch of live coverage of Euro 2016 qualifiers and the Ryder Cup from Gleneagles.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports had an excellent year in 2013 and we’re looking forward to an outstanding line-up for our customers in 2014.
“These agreements secure even more fantastic live sport for our audience, offering them unrivalled breadth and quality for years to come.”
Full details of all six new Sky Sports rights deals below:
| LIONS TOUR 2017
Sky Sports will show every match from the British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand in 2017 exclusively live, including all Test matches.
The agreement takes Sky’s partnership with the Lions into its twenty-first year, with this tour the sixth to be shown. The deal also strengthens Sky Sports’ unrivalled live international, European and domestic rugby union coverage.
Only on Sky Sports can viewers enjoy international summer tours plus England, Ireland, France and Italy Autumn Internationals and a wealth of programming.
The year-round calendar also includes continued European rugby action, a new deal for live RaboDirect PRO12 matches, women’s matches, Sevens and domestic rugby.
Plus there is live coverage of the Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship from the southern hemisphere and much more.
| SUPER LEAGUE
Sky Sports has been awarded a new five-year Super League deal from 2017, taking the partnership between Sky and the RFL beyond 30 years.
This new agreement will guarantee Sky Sports viewers live rugby league for at least eight more seasons and also over 100 matches a season from 2015 when a new league structure will mean coverage of matches from a 12-team Championship alongside the 12-club Super League.
Under the new deal commencing in 2017, only on Sky Sports will viewers be offered over 80 live Super League matches including Magic Weekend featuring every team, every Play-Off and the Super League Grand Final, live coverage of selected Challenge Cup matches and live coverage of the World Club Challenge.
As part of the deal, Sky Sports will provide enhanced coverage of the whole sport, including the resumption of live Championship action from 2015 when Rugby League embraces the exciting new league structures that see two divisions of 12 teams split into three groups of eight in the closing stages of the season.
As well as a new contract from 2017 to 2021, the RFL has agreed a number of changes to the current deal with Sky Sports that runs to the end of the 2016 season.
These include regular live action from the Kingstone Press Championship in 2015, currently broadcast by Premier Sports, and additional coverage of Catalan Dragons home games from 2014.
Super League and RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree a new contract with Sky Sports that will extend our hugely successful partnership until the end of the 2021 season.
“The association with Sky Sports has enabled Rugby League to realise many of its ambitions over the last two decades and this new contract will allow the whole sport to grow still further as we enter an exciting chapter in our history.
“Throughout our negotiations it was clear that Sky were genuinely excited by the league structures that we are putting in place from 2015 onwards.
“Whilst the new contract does not come into effect until 2017, it allows for the return of live Championship action to Sky Sports from next year which will complement their first class coverage of the First Utility Super League and capture the thrills and drama of new-look competitions where every match matters.
“Following on from the success of Rugby League World Cup 2013, the forging of significant commercial partnerships around the First Utility Super League and the decision by the clubs to embrace the new league structures, this is another momentous day for the sport.
“This really is a fantastic time to be a Rugby League supporter.”
Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis said: “This new deal is great news for Sky Sports and our customers, who will enjoy at least eight more years of live Rugby League and an exciting new structure for the sport in the UK.
“This new deal will take Sky’s partnership with the RFL to 30 years, 26 of those between Sky Sports and Super League. Now, at the dawn of an exciting new era for Rugby League, we’re thrilled that the premier competition in the UK will continue to be available only on Sky Sports until at least 2021.
“We are also pleased to be bringing even more live coverage, with over 80 matches in 2014 and over 100 a season from 2015 onwards.”
As a result of the new Sky deal and restructuring of English rugby league from 2015 onwards, Premier Sports has decided to pull out of covering RFL Championship matches in the 2014 season.
| NEW ZEALAND CRICKET
Sky Sports has secured two more England overseas tours as part of a new deal for cricket from New Zealand.
The agreement includes the next two tours in 2018 and 2020, as well as New Zealand’s home series with West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and South Africa.
Coverage complements Sky’s year-round coverage of live cricket which includes all England home Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 matches, at least 60 live county fixtures, plus live cricket from Australia, South Africa, India and West indies.
| SCOTTISH FOOTBALL
Sky Sports has been awarded a new four-year deal with the Scottish FA for exclusively live rights of the Scottish Cup, Scotland international friendly fixtures and coverage of the Scottish FA Youth Cup until the end of the 2017/18 season.
With deals already in place to show all of Scotland’s UEFA Euro 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches, as well as 30 matches a season from the SPFL, Sky Sports remains the home of Scottish football domestically and internationally.
This new agreement includes nine fixtures from each round of the Scottish Cup, including Semi-Finals – one exclusively live – and Final live in the UK and Republic of Ireland, all of Scotland’s home friendly international matches from 2014 to 2018 and exclusively live matches from Scotland’s premier Under-20 tournament featuring youth teams of senior Scottish clubs.
Sky Sports will show exclusively live coverage of the speedway’s Elite League, the highest level of competition in the UK, for the next five years thanks to a new deal announced today.
The new agreement made with the British Speedway Promoters Association means Sky Sports viewers will be able to watch live coverage of speedway’s Elite League through the summer months, and every season until 2019.
The agreement made with the BSPA comprises of a minimum 25 meetings a year through the summer from March to October featuring the 10 teams from the League starting with the Elite Riders Championship at Coventry on Friday, March 21, featuring Great Britain’s very own 2013 World Speedway Champion from Wolverhampton Tai Woffinden competing against some of the top riders in World Speedway.
The deal also includes exclusively live coverage of the Premier League plus other selected individual events.
Sky Sports will also continue to be the UK home of WWE after agreeing a new multi-year deal.
The new agreement with WWE includes the popular weekly programmes RAW, SmackDown, WWE Main Event, and WWE Experience, which is due to feature all the WWE superstars, including John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Big SHOW and DANIEL BRYAN.
Sky will also offer 12 special events a year on a pay-per-view basis, including WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Money in the Bank.