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 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 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 did not have an exclusive sports channel in the beginning. Sports programs were transmitted occasionally from this channel but rather than 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 4 channels.
British Sky Broadcasting and Sky Television announced a merger in 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 tv. Eurosport terminated its partnership with Sky Television upon the launch of Sky Sports but remained available on the SES Astra platform.
Sky Sports soon turned out to be just about 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, this was the second 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 improving its popularity base.
In 1992/93, with the formation of the Premier League, Sky Sports became the most favored sports channel following a 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 design of this news channel was overhauled during 2007. It was just in time with the football season. Although the main structure of presentation was maintained, the colour displays of the information box, the ticker at the bottom on the screen and also the breaking news ticker were changed. A brand new studio, new theme tune and new title sequences were also a part of the revamping. However the broadcasting format continued to be at the 4:3 and did not get up-graded on the Widescreen 16:9 formats.
Till date Sky Sports is related more with football than with any other sports. It is perhaps due to this reason that this channel does have a tendency to experience some loss in viewership during the summers when no football is played.