Creating consumer demand for Sky TV through sports
A Sky case study

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Page 4: Sports marketing strategy

Sky 3 Image 1Described by Rupert Murdoch as the ‘battering ram’ of Pay TV, Sky Sports is, in many ways, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Sky’s activities. It is easy to see why this is the case. For example, a large number of rugby fans became Sky TV subscribers when the British Lions rugby team toured South Africa in the summer of 1997. Sky TV has thus become a ‘must have’ for UK fans of mainstream sports (the acquisition of the Premier League football rights is the best example of this).

A key part of Sky’s strategy is to communicate its ongoing commitment to each fan’s favourite sport. Sky’s sports marketing strategy has been built around the purchase of exclusive rights to events which the consumer is willing to pay for. Sky has signed up a series of sports deals - such as the rights to the complete season of the Super League, the Premier League and the Coca-Cola cup. These are ongoing events rather than annual one-offs - such as the Grand National or the Boat Race. Acquiring exclusive rights to television Premier League matches is very costly and Sky Sports has to bid against rival television channels. Televised sport is never cheap. Broadcast fees are high so that teams can plough money back into developing the sport.

Sky TV's sports strategy is to demonstrate and showcase its premium products to help achieve objectives within all areas of the company e.g. consumer marketing to help gain new subscribers and subscriber marketing to reduce the churn rate.

Past, present and future

When creating its promotional message, BSkyB can draw upon:
The Past - Most major sporting successes have been screened on Sky TV over the past five years e.g. Tyson versus Holyfield (boxing), Brian Lara’s world record cricket score and Manchester United’s Premier League championships.
The Present – Sky’s current sports programming proposition is exceptional. Think of a major outstanding current sporting occasion - the chances are it will be appearing on Sky TV.
The Future - Sky subscribers can look forward to many great live and exclusive events e.g. Sky TV has the broadcast rights to the FA Carling Premiership until the year 2001.

BSkyB’s commitment to sport in Britain is unrivalled. BSkyB’s policy is to complement top quality action with the best broadcasting techniques and expert presenters. It sets the standards by which all sport on television is judged. Certainly, the influence of technology like super-slow-motion cameras, new camera angles and detailed statistical analysis has revolutionised the way that sport is broadcast on TV. The luxury of a three-channel sports network allows Sky to involve viewers in techniques, tactics and issues behind the action as well as match coverage.

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