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This article was published on June 27, 2013

    Sky steps up sports TV battle with BT by offering the first day of the football season for free

    Sky steps up sports TV battle with BT by offering the first day of the football season for free Image by: Thomas Northcut
    Ben Woods
    Story by

    Ben Woods

    Europe Editor

    Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

    Sky is offering one day’s free access to its Sky Sports channel in the UK to give people a taste of free football action as it steps up its fight with BT over its sports coverage.

    The broadcaster announced on Thursday that it will be offering viewers the one day of football fixtures free of charge by replacing Sky 2’s normally scheduled broadcasts (for pay TV service customers) and Pick TV’s normal programmes for Freeview and YouView users.

    “It’s our biggest ever season of Premier League football and we’re inviting every home in Britain to enjoy the opening day. All fans can join the action as we launch our new Saturday schedule for the most eagerly awaited Premier League season in years,” Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said.

    The free day will also include access to a new Sky Sports show called ‘Saturday Night Football’, itself a part of Sky’s ‘weekend of football’.

    In total Sky Sports is offering 116 Barclays Premier League live fixtures across the whole season, inlcuding big head-to-head clashes and at least five games for every club spread across Saturday evenings, Sunday double-headers, Monday nights and bank holidays, Sky said.

    With the new season set to start on August 17, Sky’s reason for revamping its scheduling and offering a free day of viewing is clear as its battle with BT’s Vision TV service escalates as both scrap for the wallets of the UK’s paying football fans.

    In total, there are 154 Premier League games this season, although BT recently won the rights to show 38 of them in an effort to attract more customers to its Vision pay TV service and new sports channels.

    The telecoms company is not only taking on Sky Sports with its football broadcasting deal, it’s also trying to leverage it to grow its broadband user base by offering the service for free to customers that take out their broadband connections with the company.

    Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock