Mailbox: Sky Sports USA? What about rugby league?

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor: [email protected]

Dear Editor,

If Sky had their hearts in the right place regarding the Championship, they would broadcast at least one fixture per round but they’ve only taken over the rights in order to damage a minor competitor (in this case, Premier Sports).

We all know that they are getting poor viewing numbers regarding some of the stuff they broadcast on most of their sports channels (filling up airtime with repeat after repeat etc).

Then you have the dross served up on the Sky Sports Mix channel, a channel that is ideal for Championship games considering it is free to view with a basic Sky package. Showing Championship games on Sky Sports Mix would be the bait that sells a Sky Sports package to any Rugby League fan with the Super League and NRL coverage that comes within it.

Sky just seem intent on grabbing the rights and pushing all major US Sports. They know they are going to do great numbers with their Premier League coverage and they reap the rewards of the advertising revenue that comes along with it.

Now they’ve invested in launching a new U.S channel and are promoting the NBA until the point that I’m sick of seeing anything to do with basketball. I expect MLB and NHL will be the next additions to the new Sky Sports USA channel… What about Sky Sports UK?

Yet with all of the promotion and broadcasting of American products, Rugby League gets two or three lines on the news reel on Sky Sports News (at a push!). We’re 9 days out from the start of Super League and I’ve yet to see any promotion at all..? Whenever I think back to the early days of the Sky Sports revolution, it was the Premier League and Super League that came along a few years after the launch, that made a Sky Sports package a must have for any sports fan. As a British viewer, I’ve no interest in the Denver Nuggets or the Carolina Panthers. I want to see the sport that is relevant on these shores!

I’d love to hear what Rob Elstone thinks of this. Surely as a former Sky employee, he is trying to push the product he is now in control of, further on to our screens. I pray that Sky do find the room for the Championship and more Rugby League related programming but I doubt they will and I find that incredibly sad. The BBC on the other hand are giving value to the Challenge Cup and holding it in the esteem it rightfully deserves. If only Sky had their hearts in right place eh…

Thomas Orr

Editor’s comment: There is of course an audience for US sports, but it is frustrating sometimes to see British based institutions giving more air time to those sports than ones being played over here. The problem is, Sky can take the feed for these sports cheaply as the broadcast costs are covered by partners in America – something which unfortunately won’t happen in rugby league (save for Toronto Wolfpack and the recent announcement about all their games being on Sky).

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor: [email protected]