Premier Sports is a British pay television sports channel launched in 2009, owned by Premier Media Broadcasting. Premier Sports holds exclusive live UK and Republic of Ireland TV rights to La Liga, Serie A, Eredivisie, Scottish League Cup, Copa América, NHL, approximately 75% of Gaelic Athletic Association games and NASCAR. Premier Sports has shared rights to the Pro14 in the UK and exclusive live rights to 53 Premier League games in the Republic of Ireland. They also hold shared rights to the Scottish Cup with BBC Scotland.
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV |
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||Premier Media Broadcasting|
La Liga TV
|Launched||25 September 2009|
|Former names||MSK/MSK Extra|
|Virgin Media||Channel 551 (1 HD) |
Channel 552 (2 HD)
|Sky||Channel 412 (1 HD) |
Channel 429 (2 HD)
|eir Vision||Channel 411 (1 SD/HD) |
Channel 412 (2 SD/HD)
|Premier Player||Watch live|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (Ireland only)|
Premier Sports was formed in 2009 by the Irish businessman Michael O'Rourke, a joint CEO and part owner of Setanta Sports and former director of Premium Sports. The channel initially focused on broadcasting sporting events which had not been available in Great Britain since the collapse of Setanta Sports GB on 22 June 2009 and were not picked up by rival sports broadcasters such as ESPN and Sky Sports but are available through Setanta in Ireland. The management of the channel is made up of CEO Michael O'Rourke, General Manager Richard Sweeney and Operations Director Richard Webb.
In April 2013, Premier Sports and Premier Sports Extra began to share their satellite stream with Setanta Sports 1, the arrangement continued after Premier Sports Extra closed on 13 June 2013. Only Premier Sports branding appears on the channel, with the exception of Setanta's coverage of the Premier League, which was blocked on Premier Sports.
Premier Sports operates on satellite provider Sky. MSK and MSK Extra were added to Sky on 25 September 2009 and relabelled Premier Sports and Premier Sports Extra on 29 July 2010. On 13 June 2013, Premier Sports Extra closed with its Sky EPG slot believed to have been sold to the Muslim World Network, which launched on the same day. Premier Sports Extra only operated for a limited number of hours during midweek, when Premier Sports closed as they used a single satellite stream. The channels were free-to-air from launch to both domestic and commercial customers but became a pay subscription channel on 5 August 2010. However the channel is sold independently by Premier Sports, rather than through Sky. On 30 June 2010, the video bit rate was increased from 2.8Mbit/s to 4.2Mbit/s.
For many years, Premier Sports was not available on Virgin Media, although negotiations were held in early 2012. Talks broke down when Premier Sports declined Virgin Media's offer to distribute the channel as a standalone add-on, as it is on satellite, as Premier Sports wanted to be bundled into one of Virgin Media's basic TV packages. On 25 October 2013 the channel launched on Virgin Media as a free channel, the day before the start of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. It became a subscription channel on 1 March 2014. On 22 August 2014, along with BoxNation, Premier Sports launched on TalkTalk but was removed on 9 August 2016.
In April 2013, Premier Sports launched their own online player to replace the Ustream service. The service is available on multiple platforms including iOS and Android. As well as live streaming, the service also features seven day catch-up and optional season long on-demand content. Some sports are also available to view worldwide.
On 30 April 2018, Premier Sports announced they would be announcing a Premier Sports 2 channel on Sky and Virgin platforms after signing a contract with PRO14 Rugby to broadcast every game across the UK for at least the next three years.
The HD channel was relabelled Premier Sports 1 on 18 July 2018, and launched on Virgin Media, replacing the SD version, which simultaneously was relabelled Premier Sports 2. New logos were adopted for both Premier Sports and its sister channel FreeSports.
On 31 August 2017, Premier Sports launched their sister channel FreeSports, a free-to-air sports channel dedicated to bringing live sport to the UK public. It is available on all major platforms available in 18 million UK homes. FreeSports aim to be majority live with over 1000 events a year for an average of 10 hours per day showing numerous sports, including MMA, Kickboxing, association football, ice hockey, tennis, rugby league, basketball, boxing, and cricket.
From 30 May 2018, Premier Sports showed all 5 days of action for the 2018 BDO World Trophy which took place at Preston Guild Hall in Preston. Later in the year, 2 England Darts events will be shown by the channel.
In May 2015, Premier Sports announced it had won exclusive multi-year rights to all 26 games of Copa América (including Copa América Centenario in 2016), starting from the 2015 Copa América that runs between 11 June and 4 July 2015.
Premier Sports also broadcasts a selection of friendly matches during the football season, e.g. New York Red Bulls against Arsenal in 2014  or all International Champions Cup matches not involving Manchester United or Liverpool.
In June 2018, it was announced Premier Sports had won rights to start broadcasting English Premier League games on the Saturday 3 p.m. slot exclusively to viewers in the Republic of Ireland from the start of the 2019-20 season, taking over from Sky Sports. Eoin McDevitt hosts coverage alongside studio pundits, Damien Delaney, Richard Dunne, Kenny Cunningham and David Moyes. The lead commentator is Des Curran, Clive Tyldesley or Will Downing with Gary Breen or Brian Kerr the co-commentators.
In November 2018 Premier Sports announced a 6-year deal with the SFA starting in 2019 to show the Scottish Cup. The exclusive live rights include the first 2 picks from rounds 4, last 16 and quarter-finals and first pick of a semi-final. There are also options to show matches in rounds 1-3 and the final and other semi-final non-exclusively with the BBC.
Also in November 2018, Premier Sports netted the UK and Ireland rights to the Scottish League Cup, currently known as the Betfred Cup for sponsorship reasons, for the next five years and will exclusively broadcast between 12 and 16 live Betfred Cup (the Scottish League Cup) matches and highlights per season, starting with the 2020-2021 season.
In January 2019, it was announced that Premier Sports had secured Serie A rights in the UK & Ireland until 2021. Premier Sports will show a minimum of 6 games per round starting the first weekend in February. The agreement also sees the Dutch Eredivisie move to the UK sports broadcaster. Chinese Super League will be broadcast on Premier Sports from March 2018 too after Eleven Sports canceled the competition rights. Weekly highlights and preview shows are set to be broadcast by Premier Sports as well as a number of games live on sister free-to-air channel FreeSports.
In February 2019, it was announced that Premier Sports had secured La Liga rights in the UK & Ireland, showing 4 live matches per round from matchday 25 until the end of the 2018/2019 season. Premier Sports also broadcast weekly highlights, previews and magazine shows. Leading on from this, in September 2019, Premier Sports confirmed that they had become exclusive UK rights-holders to La Liga, starting with matchday 4 of the 2019-20 season until the end of the 2021-22 season. They added that most matches would be put on the LaLigaTV channel, which would become available to all existing Premier Sports subscribers on the Premier Player from October 2019, and on Sky by January 2020. One match per round would be broadcast live, on sister free-to-air channel, FreeSports.
Premier Sports currently has exclusive British TV rights to approximately 75% Gaelic Athletic Association games broadcast live Gaelic games, including all matches from packs 2,3,4,7,8 & 9 from the Championships, All televised National Football League and National Hurling League, the Irish-hosted versions of the International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland, and also the rights to show archived classic Gaelic football and hurling matches in Great Britain.
Premier Sports broadcast at least 15 NHL games a week.
On 12 October 2011, Premier Sports announced that they would broadcast up to 10 live National Hockey League games per week from the 2011–12 season. On 5 July 2012, Premier Sport's announced on their Facebook page that NHL would continue for a further 4 years on the channel with appropriately 400 games per season being broadcast and complemented by daily coverage of Hockey Tonight. This deal was later extended until 2021.
Premier Sports also broadcasts live coverage of the Ice Hockey World Championships.
Premier Sports broadcasts all 38 weeks of racing from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In a one-off deal, Kimi Räikkönen's Camping World Truck Series debut was broadcast live and free-to-view. During the final week of the 2011 NASCAR season, in addition to the main NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Premier Sports showed the final races in the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series live, commercial free and free-to-view.
Since 2012, Premier Sports has aired the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. On 6 February 2018, Premier Sports announced on their Twitter page that they would continue to broadcast the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for five more years.
In 2018 Premier Sports, and its sister channel Freesports, broadcast live and also highlights of the speedway leagues Sweden's Elitserien and the Polish PGE Ekstraliga.
On 30 April 2018, Premier Sports announced they had signed a landmark partnership with PRO14 Rugby to broadcast every game from the Guinness PRO14 live in high-definition across the UK for the next three years. The agreement starting from the 2018-19 season will see all 152 games per season broadcast live, with no less than 21 games (one per round) shown live free-to-air on FreeSports.
Premier Sports also provides full coverage of the Four Nations championship.
On 9 November 2012, it was announced that Premier Sports would broadcast 260 hours of Indoor Bowls in 2013. The deal includes coverage of the World Bowls Tour International Open, PBA Masters, National Under-25s, EIBA Singles Finals, England Internationals, World Pairs and Premier Threes events.
From September 2010, Premier Sports began to air a number of live boxing events, featuring the likes of Lucian Bute, Érik Morales, Shane Mosley and Felix Sturm. On 8 December 2010, Premier Sports announced an exclusive UK deal with AIBI for the World Series of Boxing starting from December. In February 2011, Premier Sports announced they would air all ShoBox: The New Generation events in 2011 and access Gary Shaw's archive of world title fights from the past five years. Premier Sports will also air eight Top Rank events in 2011-2012. On 14 August 2011, the channel signed a deal with Spencer Fearon's Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions that saw six events from York Hall broadcast live, starting on 7 October 2011.
Premier Sports has from time to time aired football from the League of Ireland.
Since 2011 the channel has broadcast footballing action from South America. The Copa Libertadores was televised exclusively on the channel, with thirty-five live games, plus a weekly highlights package until 2016. Premier Sports also aired thirty matches from the Copa Sudamericana (until 2016), seventy-four matches from the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and Campeonato Paulista as well as seventy-six matches from the Argentine Primera División.
In January 2012, it was announced that Celtic TV and Rangers TV would each air as a three-hour block on Monday evenings. Coverage included full replays of the weekends matches that were not aired live on Sky Sports or ESPN, pre and post-match analysis and classic archive footage.
In July 2016 Premier Sports became one of the broadcasters of the revamped Scottish Challenge Cup, now sponsored by Irn-Bru sharing the rights with BBC Alba and S4C, but only held the rights for one season.
On 19 August 2010, Premier Sports announced that it had bought the live and exclusive television rights to thirty matches per season from the Conference National for a total of three seasons, covering the 2010–11, 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons. The thirty matches selected for broadcast included all five Conference National play-offs. The deal with the Football Conference was a revenue sharing arrangement whereby clubs would receive 50% of revenue from subscriptions, on top of the normal rights fee paid by the broadcaster, once the costs of production had been met. The Conference would also earn 50% from all internet revenue associated with the deal and retain advertising rights allied to those adverts shown with their matches.
However, Premier Sports announced on Facebook in April 2011 that the company had failed to attract enough viewers to its Conference football broadcasts to share any revenue with the clubs beyond the £5,000 broadcast fee paid to home clubs and £1,000 to away clubs. "It is a shame the number did not reach the point where revenue sharing became an option," said a Premier Sports spokesperson on its Facebook discussion board.
In November 2011, Premier Sports agreed to broadcast five nights of free-to-air coverage from the Greyhound Premier League, up to grand finals night in February 2012.
On 3 October 2012, the European Handball Federation announced that Premier Sports had acquired the rights to the EHF Champions League and would be broadcasting one game per week in full either live or delayed as well as the weekly highlights package.
Mixed martial artsEdit
In March 2011, Premier Sports and Cage Warriors announced a partnership that would see the final eight Cage Warriors events planned for 2011 being broadcast live and available free-to-view on the channel.
On 15 August 2011, UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle was shown free-to-view on Premier Sports, in addition to free coverage on UFC.tv. A similar deal was put in place for UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson on 2 October 2011 and UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos on 13 November 2011.
On 31 December 2012 Glory Sports International promoted their Dream 18 & Glory 4 Tokyo ~ Special 2012 ~ New Year's Eve card from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event was broadcast live and available free-to-view on the channel.
The channel aired twenty dates from the 2011 BriSCA F1 Stock Cars season and exclusive highlights of the NASCAR series during the second half of the 2011 season. In January 2012, Premier Sports signed a 2-year extension with BriSCA F1 for highlights from 24 races per season.
On 18 October 2011, it was announced that up to 32 games from the Rugby Football League Championship, Championship 1 and Championship Cup were televised live by Premier Sports in the 2012 season. Matches were mainly be screened on Thursday night with the possibility of a number of double headers. There was one game shown live from the Championship or Championship 1 in each of the regular rounds and at least three play-off games were televised as well as both the Championship and Championship 1 finals. One game from the Championship Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals will be shown live as well as the final.
Premier Sports aired all 201 games of rugby league from the Australian National Rugby League alongside the NRL Footy Show, State of Origin series, NRL Full Time and Rugby League Back Chat until 2017. In January 2011, Premier Sports agreed a deal for live coverage of five games from the Student Rugby League's Super 8 competition on a free-to-view basis. The channel also covers the State of Origin series.
On 17 August 2012, Premier Sports announced it had the rights to the French Top 14 league, usually broadcasting two live games per round. These rights transferred to BT Sport for the 2013–14 season.
- "Celtic fans' fury at Dutch game blackout". Evening Times. Herald & Times Group. 27 August 2010. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "Welcome to Premium Sports". Premium Sports. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
- "UK TV rights go to Premier Sports". Crash.Net. 29 January 2011.
- "FAQ's". Premier Sports. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "Four NRL TV games a week for UK fans". LastTackle. 2 July 2010.
- "Trice package details from Premier Sports". The Irish World. 28 July 2010. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "Premier Sports is now avai ..." Twitter. 3 November 2011.
- "Premier Sports Update". Virgin Media. 10 January 2012.
- "Virgin Media talks with Premier Sports stall". Broadcast. 2 February 2012.
- "Cable Updates". Premier Sports. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "Premier Sports launches on Virgin Media". Virgin Media. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- "Premier Sports now available online". Love Rugby League. 9 August 2012.
- "Premier Sports Launch Online Player". Love Rugby League. 23 April 2013.
- "Premier Player Country Restrictions". Premier Player. Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Every game for only £9.99 per month! |". www.premiersports.com. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "Copa America on TV". Wheres the Match. 15 May 2015.
- "About Our Coverage". Premier Sports. 7 January 2016. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "Watch the Dons live this Thursday with Premier Sports". Premier Sports. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- "New York Red Bulls v Arsenal". TV Guide. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "Sales of UK and Ireland live TV rights decided". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- "Satellite broadcaster Premier Sports to screen Scottish Cup along with BBC Scotland after striking deal with the SFA". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- "Satellite broadcaster Premier Sports to screen Scottish Cup along with BBC Scotland after striking deal with the SFA". IrishTimes. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- "Premier Sports secures Serie A rights in the UK & Ireland". Premier Sports. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "PREMIER SPORTS ADDS LALIGA TO EVER GROWING FOOTBALL COVERAGE". Premier Sports. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- "LALIGA AND PREMIER SPORTS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP IN THE UK & IRELAND INCLUDING LAUNCH OF STANDALONE LALIGATV ENGLISH-LANGUAGE CHANNEL". Premier Sports. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
- "GAA Coverage". Premier Sports. 1 April 2014. Archived from the original on 22 September 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- "We have the NHL! Starts li ..." Twitter. 12 October 2011.
- "Wall Photos". Facebook. 5 July 2011.
- "Premier to air Raikkonen debut". Autosport. 18 May 2011.
- "Good news for..." Facebook. 2 November 2011.
- "NASCAR returns to..." Facebook. 18 February 2012.
- "Pro14 rugby broadcasting deal confirmed". BBC News. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- Holmes, Elena (1 May 2018). "Premier Sports and FreeSports score Pro14 rights". SportsPro. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- "Rugby League World Cup to be screened live on BBC". Evening Standard. 10 April 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Historic TV Deal for Indoor Bowls". English Indoor Bowling Association. 9 November 2012.
- "Premier Sports TV to broadcast 4 live boxing matches in September". Hennessy Sports. 9 September 2010. Archived from the original on 13 September 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "Premier Sports TV is delighted to announce weekly boxing". Boxing News 24. 8 December 2010. Archived from the original on 13 December 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- "British fight fans get Shobox treat from Premier Sports TV". BoxRecNews. 3 February 2011.
- "Hard Knocks announce six-show deal with Premier Sports". Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions. 14 August 2011.
- "Celtic TV to be broadcast on Premier Sports channel". Celtic F.C. 9 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "RTV Back On Screen". Rangers F.C. 9 January 2012.[dead link]
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Premier Sports Secure Conference TV Rights". Vital Football. 19 August 2010.
- "Football Conference Signs Unique TV Deal". Blue Square Bet Premier. 20 August 2010. Archived from the original on 21 August 2010.
- "Disappointing Take-Up". Altrincham F.C. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- "Time To Pull The Plug On Premier Sports?". Twohundredpercent. 14 April 2011.
- "BT Calling". The Non League Football Paper. 21 May 2013.
- "Blanket coverage of BETDAQ Premier League". Greyhound Owners' Breeders' And Trainers' Association. 21 November 2011. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "EHF Champions League on TV in the UK". British Handball. 3 October 2012. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- "Cage Warriors Announce New TV Partner". Cage Warriors. 25 March 2011. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "UFC on Versus 5 gets last-minute TV partner in U.K. with Premier Sports TV". MMAjunkie. 12 August 2011.
- "UFC on Versus 6 to be Broadcast on Versus, Sky/Premier Sports and Setanta". Inside Fights. 29 September 2011.
- "UK News: UFC Velasquez vs Dos Santos to Air on Premier Sports, Virgin Media Customers Lose Out". Bloody Elbow. 9 November 2011.
- "Complete Guide To Watching DREAM 18 / GLORY 4". Liverkick. 30 December 2012.
- "Elite Speedway is back from Sweden for a further 2 years beginning 1st May on Premier Sports with Chris Harris". Twitter. 16 April 2012.
- "BriSCA F1 Stock Cars back on TV". F1Stockcars. 7 August 2011.
- "MASCAR & Premier Sports TV Announcement". MASCAR. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "BriSCA F1 to remain on Premier Sports. 2 year deal agreed". F1Stockcars. 14 January 2012.
- "Premier Sports land Championship deal". Love Rugby League. 18 October 2011.
- "Super 8's primed for the limelight". Student Rugby League. 21 January 2011. Archived from the original on 23 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- "Anglo-French Challenge set for free-to-air coverage". Love Rugby League. 29 May 2012.
- "Wall Photos". Facebook. 17 August 2012.