Sky Television

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The popular name for British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), a media provider that has dominated the coverage of top-level club football in its rise to a position of dominance in the international sport-media market. Sky Television merged with British Satellite Broadcasting in 1990, forming BSkyB, and Sky went on to compete with great success for sports rights, particularly for the newly-formed (1992) Premier League launched by England's Football Association; and, later, a growing share of European club soccer in the UEFA Champions League. The Sky model of satellite provision, based on monthly charges, achieved consistently expanding subscriber numbers throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century. Sky, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has sustained its dominant position in the market, outbidding rivals such as the ill-fated Setanta, the latter failing to achieve its projected subscription numbers and going into administration in 2009. Sky has dominated the 24/7 sports news agenda, and its magazine format on soccer match days has displaced traditional coverage on rival broadcast providers such as the BBC. Sky also attempted to buy soccer club Manchester United in 1998, but this was blocked by the UK's Monopolies and Merger Commission, one objection being that there would be a conflict of interest in both owning and potentially reporting on the club. It nevertheless pursued an alternative strategy, buying into several leading clubs within Premier League rules (no more than ten per cent investment permitted in any one club). Sky has also secured rights for the coverage in the UK of rugby league, rugby union, and the Australian, French, and US Open tennis championships. Backed by the power of News Corporation, the world's leading news conglomerate, Sky has been able to consolidate and reinvest in its sport-based portfolio in ways unmatched by any other provider.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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