Virgin Ireland Drops eir Sports Pack, Inks Long-Term Sky Deal


DUBLIN: Virgin Media Ireland has secured a long-term agreement with Sky for the ongoing carriage of a number of Sky channels, though it is opting to drop the eir Sports package, which includes BT Sports.

The Sky deal covers Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts and Sky News, as well as Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports News HQ and the newly rebranded Sky Cinema (formerly Sky Movies). Virgin Media Ireland customers will have access to 159 live FA Premier League games, which includes 33 live Premier League games on Saturdays, only available in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, Virgin Media will carry the new Sky Sports Mix channel, which will broadcast live sports, analysis and entertainment and will be available to all Virgin Media Ireland TV subscribers.

As of July 31, the platform will no longer carry the eir Sports pack, which includes eir Sports, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and BT/ESPN.

Bill Blake, Virgin Media Ireland’s head of TV content, said: “We’re excited our customers will be able to watch even more great TV from Sky as a result of a new and long-term agreement. This promises to be a fantastic year of sports entertainment and our customers, whether at home or on the go, will get to enjoy Sky’s great range of channels for years to come as a result of our investment.

“Right now, Virgin Media Ireland customers have all the key Sky Sports channels in HD and can also access this content via the Sky Go apps and website. Sky is offering 159 Live Premier Leagues Games compared to 42 in the eir Sports Pack, and the Champions League top pick games are on RTE and Virgin Media-owned TV3 for 2016/2017.

“At Virgin the customer is at the heart of all our content decisions and the significant reduction in content by over 40 percent within the eir Sports pack made the economics of offering the pack to our customers unsustainable. We have made every effort to agree commercial terms with eir Sport that reflect the reduced value within their sports pack, however their pricing was excessive and simply wasn’t realistic relative to their content offering which has essentially been halved.

“We’re working closely with key content programmers such as Sky to establish and secure more compelling content for Virgin Media Ireland customers. This is only the beginning of our journey.”