Premier Sports Shakeup: UK Channels Acquired By Viaplay

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Another major shakeup in the UK TV sports arena: Premier Sports, the company that operates several pay-TV sports channels (as well as FreeSports), is being acquired by Viaplay – a Nordic streaming platform.

With Viaplay planning to launch its streaming service in the UK this autumn, Premier Sports will now be getting Viaplay’s branding, and will eventually be combined in some way with Viaplay’s main streaming service, which includes Nordic dramas and more sports.

Premier Sports owns the rights to many significant sporting events, such as LaLiga, NASCAR, Scottish Cup and more, while Viaplay also owns the rights to UEFA national team football, NFL Ice Hockey and more.

Therefore the combined platform will become a major force in sports broadcasting and streaming in the UK.

Viaplay’s announcement comes in a year that’s been full of big TV sports shakeups, including the merger of BT Sport and Eurosport/Discovery, and Champions League games moving to Amazon’s Prime Video.

Premier Sports is a set of pay-TV sports channels, that are available on Sky and its streaming service NOW (though not on Sky Glass), Virgin Media, and on the standalone website via the Premier Sports Player.

Last year, Premier Sports also became a Prime Video Channel, where viewers can subscribe directly for £14.99/month.

Premier Sports on Amazon Prime Video Channels

The channels that make-up Premier Sports are Premier Sports 1, Premier Sports 2 and BoxNation.

The channels feature a big range of sporting events, including La Liga, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup and Coppa Italia football; United Rugby Championship, Rugby Football League and Top 14 rugby; NASCAR motorsport and the Elite Ice Hockey League.

Premier Sports currently has a total of 222,000 paying UK subscribers to its pay-TV channels Premier Sports 1 and Premier Sports 2 and streaming service Premier Player.

The company also operates FreeSports, a free channel/streaming platform (with adverts), that covers a variety of sports categories, from selected football matches, to NASCAR, ice hockey, rugby, cricket and more. 

FreeSports player
FreeSport Player

FreeSports used to be available on both Freesat and Freeview, but has been removed from both platforms.

Therefore, it’s now only available via the website or the FreeSports app (or on Sky and Virgin Media, but those aren’t free platforms).

PremierSports And Viaplay Coming Together

Viaplay is a streaming service owned by the Viaplay Group, and is based in Stockholm. It focused on Scandinavian drama, comedy and crime shows and films.

Viaplay US official

The service is currently available in every Nordic and Baltic country, Poland, the US and the Netherlands, with plans to launch in the UK later this year.

As a result of Viaplay’s acquisition of Premier Sports, Viaplay will expand its UK offering at launch to two streaming packages:

  • The Films & Series package will focus on the “best of Nordic storytelling” with Viaplay Originals and premium third-party content.
  • The Total package will include Viaplay and Premier Sports’ combined sports line-up, alongside Viaplay’s Films & Series offering.

According to Viaplay, the acquisition will also deliver synergies in sports production, while boosting Viaplay’s local brand awareness amongst viewers, with Viaplay’s branding being added to Premier Sports’ channels.

Further details of Viaplay’s UK content, pricing and launch date will be announced in due course.

Richard Sweeney Premier Sports CEO
Richard Sweeney, Premier Sports CEO

Richard Sweeney, Premier Sports CEO, said: “At Premier Sports, we’re proud to have created a dynamic, innovative sports streamer and broadcaster over the past 13 years.

“Our sale to Viaplay Group will dramatically increase the content available to new and existing subscribers. This is the start of an exciting new chapter in the development of the business, and is great news for our colleagues, customers and partners.”

Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group President and CEO, said: “This acquisition will put Viaplay firmly on the UK map and accelerate our development in this key market.

“Premier Sports has a loyal and expanding subscriber base, well-established distribution agreements and production capabilities, and a great sports portfolio that complements our own.

“There is also a big opportunity to make Viaplay’s wider offering, including our award-winning Viaplay Originals, available to Premier Sports’ subscribers.”

2 thoughts on “Premier Sports Shakeup: UK Channels Acquired By Viaplay”

  1. I’ve been wondering what the latest is with the BT Sport and Discovery Plus merger, I’m guessing there’s not really anything new as from what I can gather it’s towards the end of the year but I was wondering about it for a while.

    I wonder if they will rebrand it eventually too as I think that would be pretty cool, the whole transition sports is doing is great and much needed. Of course, I think it’s got to the point where they don’t have a choice due to how TV is transitioning and of course like music and film industry had to really work out a way to make things affordable for their customers (which worked in their favour) sports were the only one’s behind with out dated models and pricing structure etc.. where as now, they’re finally making their way to match sports with the film and music industry such as Netflix, Prime, Spotify, Amazon Music etc.. where pretty much everyone has these now so I hope the sports industry doesn’t disappoint however I think it’s got to the point where they have to as they’re playing catch up but this also seems like a great transition.

    The problem really has and always has been charging too much, £14.99 does seem a little too much to be honest but they’re definitely going in the right direction. This is why they’ve battled against streaming and trying to get customers where as if every house hold was able to get a subscription they would be making so much money and it’s a balance of that which is needed.

    Another thing I have felt has been very beneficial and a great idea is the different subscription packages some platforms offer with an ad free tier or with ad’s at a cheaper subscription cost, that way these platforms are making money (as they should) from advertisers and sponsors as well as their customers as they’re not eliminating any from being able to afford it and this is what is probably the best thing really these platforms have done.

    This is exactly how it needs to be 😊


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