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Volume 10 No. 25
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Sky Sports To Launch First Channel Dedicated To European Football

Sky will launch the first TV channel dedicated to European Football. Sky Sports will make the new channel -- Sky Sports 5 -- available as part of its sports package, at no extra cost. Sky Sports 5 will broadcast more than 600 live European football matches next season. Sky Sports 5 will be the seventh channel from Sky Sports and will be the home of European Qualifiers, UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey for Sky Sports viewers, plus other European football programming including Revista De La Liga and Champions League Weekly. For the first time, Sky Sports will offer exclusively live coverage of Holland’s top division Eredivisie. The new four-year deal will bring live matches each week to Sky Sports 5, enabling viewers to follow the domestic campaigns of the Netherlands’ top teams including Ajax, Feyenoord, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven (Sky). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Roxborough & Kemp wrote David Beckham "is the face of a Brit-wide marketing campaign launched by Sky to promote the new channel, Sky Sports 5." Sky "is launching its marketing campaign this week to take advantage of the hype" surrounding the World Cup (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/10). In London, Daniel Thomas wrote analysts at Espírito Santo said that "the new channel was an attempt by Sky to shore up its European football proposition after losing out on rights for the Champions League and Europa League" from '15-16 to BT Sport. News of the new channel sent shares in BT down by almost 3% to 395%," the most for almost a month," while shares in Sky were down more than 1%. The equity research team at Berenberg Bank expressed doubt whether Sky Sports 5 would drive customer growth or tariff upgrades, but said that the aggressive broadband offer showed Sky was "upping the ante against a resurgent BT." Berenberg said that Sky was under pressure in its TV business as a result of accelerating rights cost inflation, "while the maturity of the broadband market means that Sky must either face lower gross margins or declining market share" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/10).