Sky is to launch a new free-to-view sports channel this summer that will bring some of its biggest sporting events to its TV customers in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost.
Launching this summer, the new channel will be called Sky Sports Mix and be aimed at encouraging a higher proportion of the broadcaster’s 12 million-plus subscribers to add its sports packages to their monthly TV plan.
Millions of Sky customers will now be able to watch a selection of live sporting events, including football, golf from Europe and the US, international cricket and much more, as part of their basic subscription packages.
From the launch, believed to be set for August, viewers can look forward to regular live football from competitions including La Liga, MLS, FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers, as well as a select number of Premier League and Football League matches.
Sky Sports Mix will also bring Sky’s long-standing commitment to women’s sport to a broader audience, with live women’s golf, cricket and netball.
These will appear alongside shows like Game Changers and sporting masterclasses that connect Sky Sports to the passion that kids have for learning about and playing sport.
The Sky Sports Mix channel line-up will also include documentaries, sports entertainment shows and other sporting content.
The launch of Sky Sports Mix is thought to be seen by the broadcaster as a way of offering more value to existing customers to stop them defecting to rival TV services such as Virgin Media, TalkTalk and BT Sport, the latter of which launched its own free-to-air channel BT Sport Showcase on Freeview in August 2015.
Sky Sports Managing Director, Barney Francis, said: “With Sky Sports Mix, we are giving millions more people access to great moments from some of the world’s biggest sporting events at no extra cost.
“It is a fantastic way for all Sky customers to be able to enjoy some of the great content that has made Sky Sports the first choice for sport.
“Sky Sports Mix will bring sport to more people and provide many different ways of enjoying our coverage, from high profile live events and fascinating documentaries to clips of incredible moments.
“Our aim is to offer sport in a way that can engage, encourage and excite everyone even further.”
Despite the upcoming launch of its own free-to-view sports channel, Sky has stressed that the only way to watch “every minute” of the sport to which it has TV rights – 60,000 hours a year across seven channels – is to take up a full subscription.
In 2016, that means all four golf Majors and the Ryder Cup, live England Test cricket and every Formula 1 race, while from August, 126 live Premier League games, with more top picks and Friday night matches for the first time, 127 Football League games and more than 300 live games from Spain’s La Liga.
The launch of Sky Sports Mix means that Sky TV customers will be able to enjoy access to live sport, the widest range of Catch Up TV services, as well as watch shows from HBO and Showtime on Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, FOX and many more exclusive channels.
They can access all this whenever and wherever they want – live or on the go, via our mobile TV service, Sky Go.
UPDATE: Sky Sports Mix set to launch on Wednesday, August 24 (via @paolopescatore).