Deputy MD Alison Dolan said: “It’s through this investment that we can keep delivering great content and our unrivalled range of products and support tools that drive value for licensees.”
She added that the business was building on the 55,000 hours of live sport it broadcast over the past year to deliver a “huge summer of sport” on Sky, including international rugby union, golf majors, F1 Grands Prix, England’s cricket Test series against Sri Lanka, the Tour de France and Darts World Cup.
And she said Sky has acquired 30 new sports rights agreements for the 2014/15 season including: the European Rugby Champions Cup; the European Rugby Challenge Cup; the PRO12 rugby; Top 14 rugby from France; Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket; and the All-Ireland Gaelic Football and Hurling Championships.
Sky Sports 5
On 12 August, Sky is launching its seventh dedicated sports channel – Sky Sports 5 – to be its new home of European Football, featuring games from: the UEFA Champions League; La Liga and Copa del Rey (Spanish football); Coppa Italia (Italian football); Eredivisie (Dutch football); and the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Dolan said: “Scheduling all Sky Sports European football content on one channel will make it easier than ever for pubs to show all this great content and appeal to fans of European football and football in general.”
However, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has expressed its disappointment at "another increase in costs for pubs".
ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “It is always disappointing to see any supplier push through above inflation price increases when margins remain under pressure across the sector. The reality is that any increase in operating costs causes operators to make tough commercial decisions.
"On the eve of the World Cup - when we hope customers will get back into the habit of watching sport in the pub not at home - it is disappointing that price will be a deciding factor for many.
According to research carried out by the ALMR, just under 40% of pubs had a subscription. However, it said when free-to-air events are shown, up to 90% of the pub estate expressed an intent to broadcast.
“In real terms, Sky’s price hike will mean that means pubs will have to sell around 385 extra pints of Carling per year to cover the cost, and the core service for pubs – Premiership Football – will remain unchanged. Across the sector as a whole this will divert investment away from licensed hospitality’s ability to deliver jobs and growth in local economies across the UK.
“What we need to avoid is a return to a period of price and rights bidding escalation by satellite television providers. Pubs provide a fantastic setting and environment in which to watch the best sporting action. Unsustainable price rises such as these may mean that fewer pubs will be able to continue offering the best sporting drama.”