Sky is rebuilding its sport. Charly Classen (45), the sports director of the pay TV provider, explains what the program will look like in the near future – and whether there will be more costs.
BILD: Mr. Classen, Sky is restructuring its sports channels. What is changing?
Charlie Classen: “On July 14, we will be launching five new channels: “Sky Sport Topevent” will show the best that we have – such as live football, Formula 1, of course, or tennis and the Diamond League. This has the advantage that the most important events can be found quickly and easily. The viewer no longer has to look for which Sky Sport channel something is being shown on.”
What other channels are there?
Classes: “Following the Sky Sport F1 model, we are launching our own themed channels for the Premier League, tennis, golf and a mixed channel of top-class sport called Sky Sport Mix. In addition to lots of live sport, all of the new channels also feature documentaries and magazines that are already being used extensively by our customers. Together with “Sky Bundesliga”, “Sky Sport F1” and “Sky Sport News” we then have eight channels that show sports 24 hours a day. Diversity is important to us. That’s why we also report on the Special Olympics, which is very important to us.”
Will Sky get more expensive?
Classes: “No. Currently, the “Bundesliga” and “Sport” packages together only cost 23.50 euros per month (Offer during the minimum contract period, then 40 euros; i.e. editor). With the streaming offer WOW it is from 24.99 euros per month.
Competitor DAZN has raised the prices to 24.99 and 29.99 euros per month. Do you understand the fan displeasure about the flood of subscriptions?
Classes: “It has certainly become more expensive to see everything. For some, that’s a hurdle that’s too high. As such, we are focused on offering the best value on Sky. However, we are also observing on the German market that the willingness to pay for quality has increased significantly.”
Are you still checking where to watch all football matches?
Classes: “If you wanted to follow Marco Reus and all Borussia Dortmund games last season, for example, you would need at least six channels. This is quite difficult for fans to understand. This is where we would like to help with our Sky-Q platform: You can look for BVB and just get there. Dortmund runs most often on Sky, but you can also access DAZN and Amazon Prime subscriptions via Sky Q. Everything is done via a voice remote control.”
Sky lost the Champions League and Bundesliga Sunday in 2021. What effect did that have on customer numbers?
Classes: “We are satisfied, have a stable customer base (Sky has around 23 million customers in Germany, Italy and Great Britain; i.e. editor) can hold. This is also shown by the good ratings.”
Classes: “The second division was phenomenal, thanks to the top line-up, but above all because of the excitement: 1.8 million viewers attended each weekend, 55 percent more than in the previous season.”
There is rarely any excitement in the championship fight in the Bundesliga. How worried are you?
Classes: “First of all: hats off to FC Bayern for ten championship titles in a row. Fortunately, from our point of view, a lot is happening in the league: Dortmund is strengthening. Leipzig showed what it is capable of in the second half of the season. One thing is clear: more excitement is good for us.”
Do you aim to bring the Champions League back to Sky for the rights period from 2024/25?
Classes: “We look at every right very carefully. As a sports fan, I would like to see the Champions League here, of course.”
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