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Having lost its live rights to UEFA Champions League matches from the 2015/16 season to competitor BT Sport, UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB is fighting back with what it describes as good news for millions of its customers ahead of the new football season, with confirmation that Sky Sports is to launch the first ever television channel dedicated to European football.
Customers with Sky Sports will be able to receive the new channel – Sky Sports 5 – as part of their sports package, and as a further bonus they can also get two years’ free Sky Broadband Unlimited.
Sky Sports 5 will screen up to 600 live European football matches next season featuring some of the best players, the best teams and the best competitions. Sky Sports 5 will be the seventh channel from Sky Sports and will be the home of European Qualifiers for UEFA Euro 2016, UEFA Champions League, La Liga, the Coppa Italia and Copa del Rey for Sky Sports viewers, plus a host of other European football programming including Revista De La Liga and Champions League Weekly.
For the first time Sky Sports will also offer exclusively live coverage of Holland’s top division Eredivisie. The new four-year deal will bring live matches from each round to Sky Sports 5, enabling viewers to follow the domestic campaigns of the Netherlands’ top teams including Ajax, Feyenoord, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven.
Launching with a nationwide marketing campaign starring David Beckham, Sky Sports viewers can activate the channel from 12 June ahead of the channel going live on 12 August.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said the new channel took Sky’s “unrivalled” live football coverage to the next level offering more European football than ever before. “There’s never been a better time to be a Sky Sports customer and with two years’ free totally unlimited broadband, we offer the ultimate package for sports fans,” he declared.
Sky Ambassador David Beckham said that some of his greatest playing moments were on the European stage with Manchester United, playing in El Clasico for Real Madrid and captaining England in Euro qualifiers. “Sky Sports 5 will offer all the drama and excitement that European football has to offer and I’ll certainly be gripped,” he added.
Cable MSO Virgin Media confirmed the channel would be made available to Virgin Media customers in both SD and HD.