Sky Sport has launched as an online-only service in Switzerland. Offering live matches from the German Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League as well as tennis, ice hockey, handball and more, Sky Sport is available without a long-term contract, with a monthly subscription of SFr 19.00 ($19.75). Yesterday's launch coincides with the start of the new Bundesliga season.
This release comes three months after Sky Deutschland’s purchase of Homedia, the Swiss company behind the video-on-demand provider Hollystar.
Sky Sport can be purchased as a daily pass providing 24 hours of access priced at SFr 9.90 as well as on a monthly basis. Sky Sport is accessible via the web on PCs and as an app for iOS and Android with Smart TV apps reportedly coming soon.
Sky Sports channels will also be available from UPC via cable and IPTV. The Liberty Global-owned company, which replaced Swisscom-owned Teleclub as Sky's partner in German-speaking Switzerland this year, is relaunching its sports offering, branded as MySports, next month.
The launch of Sky Sport is its first move into the sports distribution market in Switzerland. The landscape of rights ownership has undergone a number of shifts in the past year, with UPC Switzerland securing a number of exclusive sporting rights. Sky may be a powerhouse in sports broadcasting in Germany and Austria but in Switzerland, it faces stiff competition.
UPC Switzerland recently made part of its MySports offering available to cable TV customers with its full set of packages to follow in September this year. At that point, the MySports offering will be structured and priced similarly to Sky’s with both daily and monthly packages. In terms of sports rights, UPC Switzerland has the broadcasting rights to the first and second divisions of the Bundesliga provided by Sky as well as exclusive Swiss ice hockey. Sky will still have its rights to show the Bundesliga as well as the UEFA Leagues.
Sky has struck a number of other deals with Swiss TV providers both in content distribution and provision of this new platform. Sunrise has announced an exclusive offer for its internet, TV and mobile subscribers to receive access to the Sky Sport App for three months for no extra charge. Both UPC Switzerland and Sunrise as well as Swisscom claim their TV customers will have integrated app access via their set-top boxes by the end of the year. In a country with 76% pay TV penetration and 93% broadband penetration, Sky’s strategy appears to be one of continued integration with the established TV and telco companies as well as making its services available to any potential cord-cutters.
Sky’s Swiss OTT sports offering mimics its German and Austrian Sky Ticket Sports passes that also provide daily and monthly access to sport. Priced at €9.99 and €29.99 per month respectively, the German/Austrian offerings are more expensive than the Swiss ones, reflecting a difference in appropriate content for the respective countries. In Germany, Sky has distribution rights to a number of popular sports including the Bundesliga and UEFA football and the EHF Champions League Handball. In Switzerland, Sky is missing rights to some key sports events including Swiss ice hockey and while German content is appropriate for the majority of the country, French, Italian and Romansh-speaking regions will be less interested.
Sky is rapidly deploying in Switzerland, both avoiding direct competition with telco and TV companies by standing alone from its usual integration as well as continuing to make its services available through third party parners. Sky appears to be making full use of its acquisition of Homedia to deploy the Sky Sport platform online and through the app. Both Hollystar and now Sky Sport together now mean that Sky is a go-to name for on-demand access to movies, TV shows and sports matches in Switzerland.