UPC Switzerland has started offering the MySports Pro premium package to its Connect & Play TV, internet and telephony customers as well as other Suissedigital cable operators. This package is currently available at no extra charge and offers access to sports channels from providers such as Sky, Eurosport and Sport1.
The full set of MySports packages will become available in September this year alongside UPC’s six new MySports channels. These channels will largely offer UPC’s exclusive content including Ice hockey and Bundesliga matches and will be included in the MySports Pro premium package. At this point, the free-to-view period will end and the package will cost users CHF 25 ($26) per month. UPC Switzerland will also start offering a free basic channel as well as a Day Ticket providing 24 hours of full access to the MySports Pro package for CHF 9. The basic channel will offer customers at least one live Swiss Ice hockey league game per week as well as analysis and discussion of other sports.
The MySports Pro premium package will be available to watch on mobile devices, PCs as well the TV sets and will be cancellable monthly with three months of notice.
Most channels offered in the MySports Pro package were previously unavailable to Swiss UPC TV customers. Some of these, such as Eurosport 1 HDs are simply quality upgrades from the SD offerings in the basic TV packages, whereas others such as Eurosport 2 HD and Motorvision.tv HD appear for the first time. At least until early September, Swiss UPC Connect & Play customers are getting a free channel upgrade. This early launch is also allowing subscribers to watch the 2. Bundesliga matches from the season’s start on 28 July through the currently offered Sky channels.
With minimal content overlap, Swiss UPC customers are gaining access to a broader library of sports channels. Most of these are purchased in small bundles through extra TV package options such as SFR Sport and Teleclub. In terms of external competition, Swisscom offers live sports access through its TV Air service from CHF 5 per event, which will eventually compete with the Day Ticket as well as the Sports Archive available as part of the Teleclub Play subscription service priced at CHF 12.90 with a one month free trial. While Teleclub Play also offers access to on demand TV and movies, it lacks the live sport aspect that is so appealing to dedicated sports viewers.
A service’s rights catalogue is crucial in determining its popularity and UPC Switzerland has acquired a broad set of rights including the Bundesliga, that will be shown from the start of the season on 28 July, Portuguese Liga, Russian KHL as well as the controversial Swiss Ice Hockey, taking the hockey away from Swisscom and its pay TV subsidiary Teleclub. Swisscom protests Swiss UPC only making the live games available through cable connection, leaving Swisscom customers unable to access the content. The Competition Commission recently rejected precautionary measures against UPC although Swisscom vows to continue to fight for its Ice Hockey fans.
The channels and rights Swiss UPC has at hand are set to make for a decent offering when the full MySports offering releases in September. MySports’ premium monthly offering will appeal well to dedicated sports fans while the basic offering and day pass will cater to those only requiring intermittent access. MySports’ offerings closely mimic that of Sky Deutschland’s Sky Ticket Pay TV lite offering in Germany and Austria, although UPC’s MySports is not available as a standalone product. With Sky Deutschland’s recent move in Switzerland with the acquisition of OTT provider Hollystar and with a potential Sports offering on the horizon, UPC Switzerland stands in a good position to take on the challengers.