Sky Television has struck a deal to get English Premier League football back onto its satellite television service when the next season kicks off in August.
After months of speculation, spokeswoman Kirsty Way said Sky had secured the rights to show two football channels from Dubai-based broadcaster and EPL rights-holder Bein Sports, which is run by Al-Jazeera.
One channel will show EPL games, highlights and related shows in HD. The other channel will show matches from Spain’s La Liga and France’s Ligue 1, as well as games from the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and England’s Championship League.
The two channels, together, will cost $11.96 a month and will be sold separately to Sky Sports.
Way said Sky TV would not get any revenue from the channels, with all of the money instead going to Bein.
As viewers would need to subscribe to Sky Basic, the price of which will go up to $49.91 next week, Sky could still benefit financially from the partnership if it helped it retain or attract satellite television subscribers.
Sky said it cost about $18 a month to get the same football channels direct online from Bein and its price compared favourably with the $20 monthly fee previously charged by Coliseum, which had previously held the New Zealand broadcast rights to the EPL.
Sky would have up to three additional “pop-up channels” to show matches when fixtures clashed, Way said.
The announcement came as Sky spelt out more details of its proposed merger with Vodafone New Zealand.
Sky has come in for flak from some football fans for not showing UEFA’s Euro 2016 and the Oceania Cup tournaments through its online sports service Fan Pass, which does not show any events broadcast on Sky’s pop-up satellite channels.
Way defended that decision, saying the schedule for Euro 2016 only became available “in days before the broadcasts” and it had put the event on a pop-up channel so as not to disrupt its other schedules.
Twelve of the bigger matches from the 51-match tournament between Europe’s leading soccer nations, including the final, would be shown live on Prime, she said.