Eir customers could lose out on BT Sport and Premier Sports as Sky take over
All 233 televised Premier League games now available through one Sky subscription
Sky has agreed a deal with Premier Sports to become exclusive distribution partner for Premier Sports in Ireland. For the first time, Sky will be home to every live Premier League game. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Eir customers in Ireland may no longer receive the Premier Sport and BT Sport channels through their Eir broadband subscription after Sky announced exclusive deals with the two broadcasters, starting this summer.
The new deal means that Sky Sports customers will now be able to watch all 233 televised Premier League games through one subscription after the broadcaster already announced last October that they had become the official distributor of BT Sport in Ireland. On Tuesday they followed that announcement with the news that they are also the exclusive distributor of Premier Sports.
Currently, BT Sport is only accessible through the bundled Eir Sport pack in Ireland, which is available at a monthly fee of €29.99 or free for Eir broadband and mobile customers while much of Premier Sports’ content is shown on Eir Sport.
It is understood Sky is interested in talking to other platforms about the wholesale distribution of both Premier Sports and BT Sport to their services. This means Premier and BT channels may become available to Eir and Virgin customers if Eir and Virgin can agree a deal with Sky.
An Eir Sport spokesman told The Irish Times: “Negotiations between Eir sport and Sky Sports, who own the distribution rights to the BT Sports channels in the Republic of Ireland, are ongoing.
“The BT Sports and Premier Sports channels remain part of the Eir sport pack for the immediate future.”
As things stand, subscriptions for Sky Sports, BT Sport and Premier Sports will now be available through one single Sky package from the summer in a move away from the increasing fragmenting of subscriptions for sport on television.
Last June, Premier Sports - which is owned by Dublin businessman and co-founder of Setanta Sports Mickey O’Rourke - announced that they had secured the rights to show 53 Premier League games per season for a three-year period, beginning in August 2019.
Of those games, 33 will be 3pm kick-offs on a Saturday while 10 will be on St Stephen’s Day and December 27th and the other 10 games will be shown mid-week in early December. As Sky Sports have already been showing 3pm games exclusively in Ireland that package will simply switch from Sky Sports to Premier Sports.
However, Sky say that they have secured “more of the big matches, in the best slots, with every weekend first pick”. They will also show live games on Friday nights, Saturday evenings, Saturday nights (for the first time), Sunday afternoons and Monday nights as well as showing every Premier League club at least four times a year.
Based in Dublin, Premier Sports launched in the UK in August 2010. It is currently available via subscription to 16 million homes through the Sky and Virgin platforms at £9.99 (€11.36) a month. It is also available in high definition through its online Premier player service.
From next year that subscription, along with BT Sport, will become part of a package payable to Sky although the broadcaster has not confirmed what the price will be or how the packages will be made up. Much of Premier Sports’ content is already shown in Ireland through Eir Sport, including the recent acquisition of La Liga and Serie A coverage after the broadcaster secured those rights from Eleven Sports.
With the partnership between Sky and BT, Sky customers in Ireland will also be able to view Champions League, Europa League, Heineken Champions Cup rugby, Premiership rugby and more via their single subscription while rugby fans will also get Pro14 coverage via Premier Sports.
Commenting on the news, JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, said: “This is fantastic news for Sky customers in Ireland who can now watch all their favourite sports under one roof. For the first time ever, we’ll be showing every single Premier League game as well as Champions League, Heineken Champions Cup Rugby, all the golf majors and exclusive GAA fixtures. It’s going to be a very exciting summer of live sport.”
A spokeswoman for Virgin Media Ireland said the company was “very happy with our current sports offering”, which includes Champions League, Europa League matches and other content on Virgin Media Sport.
Meanwhile, in the UK, some 20 of the matches to which Premier Sports has the Irish rights will be shown on Amazon Prime Video following one of the subscription video-on-demand company’s foray into football.