For the first time, Sky Sports became the number one digital destination for sport in the UK* as part of a record breaking 2015 across all platforms.
As sports fans’ consumption habits continue to evolve, new records were set for users of Sky Sports’ award-winning digital and on-demand services while viewers enjoyed more sport than ever before with over 60,000 hours across seven channels in 2015.
Online video views increased by approximately 175%, totalling just under 300 million by December. On-demand usage is also up considerably, with a total of 20 million downloads of highlights, magazine and short-form programmes, up from just over 13 million at the same stage last year, showing that Sky Sports continues to innovate across a changing world of sports consumption.
“The way people consume sport is changing and so is our service. As well as a record-breaking year across our seven channels, Sky Sports has become the first choice for sport across digital outlets too.” Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director
Sky Sports’ record-breaking year included an unprecedented schedule of women’s sport with coverage scheduled on over 270 days. This included every ball of the Women’s Ashes – a broadcasting first – every shot from the Solheim Cup, as well as every England goal at the Netball World Cup.
Sky Sports viewers can look forward to even more great sport in 2016, including all four of golf’s Majors for the first time, the Ryder Cup, more live Premier League games than ever before and even better picks combined with the addition of near live clips across digital platforms, the ICC World Twenty20, England rugby’s tour of Australia and the ATP World Tour Finals.
Highlights from this record-breaking year saw a number of memorable moments, including England’s 3-2 Ashes victory, Lewis Hamilton’s third Formula 1 World Championship title, Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League and Capital One Cup double and a huge year of boxing including Tyson v Klitschko and Mayweather v Pacquiao.
Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director said: “The way people consume sport is changing and so is our service. As well as a record-breaking year across our seven channels, Sky Sports has become the first choice for sport across digital outlets too. Sports fans want their fix wherever they are and at any time of the day, and our award-winning service across TV, mobile, online, Sky Go and NOW TV ensure this.”
Additionally, Sky Sports production has been recognised at some of the year’s most prestigious awards ceremonies. Coverage of Europe’s Ryder Cup victory, which included a dedicated Ryder Cup channel, was named the Best Sports Programme at the annual Royal Television Awards – part of a double success this year – with former Sky Sports analyst and new Valencia manager Gary Neville named the Best Sports Presenter for the second year running.
The most televised sports in 2015 including support programming and live coverage, but excluding interactive programming were:
Nearly 13,000 hours of football were shown this year, an increase of over 20% from last year, affirming Sky Sports’ status as the home of football. In the 2015 calendar year, Sky Sports has broadcast the 50 most-viewed football matches on pay TV. Online, skysports.com’s football video views surpassed 170 million for the first time, and the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifiers’ new format, coupled with the success of the Home Nations, saw audiences grow 28% from last year’s FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
A massive year of cricket on Sky Sports saw overall hours up by more than 2,000 to just over 7,000 hours. This included over 2,800 hours of live coverage, as England won the Ashes exclusively live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Ashes channel. England’s victorious series also saw 1.7 million unique users per Test on the Sky Sports website, a 39% increase on the 2013 summer series, while the ICC Cricket World Cup saw an 111% increase of unique users from the 2014 T20 World Cup. Award-winning Ashes coverage was provided by a host of former Ashes captains as Ricky Ponting joined familiar faces Shane Warne, Ian Botham, Michael Atherton and others on the Sky Sports Ashes channel.
A huge year for boxing in Britain saw Sky Sports’ coverage taken to a new level, with ground-breaking viewing numbers on Sky Sports, Sky Sports Box Office and digital platforms. The fight of the century between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao saw record viewers on Sky Sports Box Office, and Anthony Joshua’s fight with Gary Cornish saw 600,000 fans tune in to catch the fight. Joshua’s big year helped push online video views close to 30 million across the year, and on-demand downloads of boxing content have also experienced a huge rise, up over 100% on this stage last year, with over 3.4 million.
Sky Sports continued to present top-tier television and digital action from every practice, qualifying session and race during the 2015 Formula 1 season, as British driver Lewis Hamilton claimed his third Drivers’ Championship. Viewers continue to enjoy Sky Sports’ overall coverage, with, as a particular highlight, 1.7 million viewers tuning in to see Lewis Hamilton claim the title at the US Grand Prix. Online video views surpassed 12 million, and on-demand downloads were over 700,000.
From January 8 to December 13, Sky Sports showed 48 straight weeks of live golf including The Masters, The US Open, US PGA Championship, the 2015 Solheim Cup and the biggest events from the PGA and European Tours. In a year that saw Sky Sports add over 100 new hours of live coverage to an already expansive portfolio, 2016 will include all four majors and the Ryder Cup. The 2015 British Masters supported by Sky Sports saw 15,000 fans enjoy the ‘Sky Sports Thursday’ free ticket offer. It was also the most watched European Tour event of the season, with over 1.26m viewers tuning in across the event, and the second most attended. Live masterclasses from the events were provided by some of the sport’s biggest names including tournament host Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, all of which served to introduce new fans to the game.
There was live rugby union for fans to enjoy in 51 weeks of the year including all three of England’s Rugby World Cup warm-up matches and all of the best action from the Southern Hemisphere. In October, Sky Sports signed a new three-year deal with Sanzar meaning viewers can continue to watch all four World Cup semi-finalists in The Rugby Championship while also enjoying other international rugby in June 2016 notably England’s tour of Australia.
2015 set a record for the number of live hours of rugby league as Super League’s revamped structure saw Leeds Rhinos prevail after months of intense action. Russell Crowe spoke exclusively to Sky Sports during coverage of the World Club Challenge series between his South Sydney Rabbitohs and St Helens while the addition of the Challenge Cup pushed the rugby league offering to new levels. The 2015 Super League Grand Final also saw a five-year high viewing figure, and over 2.5 million videos were viewed across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.
Sky Sports broke new ground within women’s sports in 2015 with over 270 days of women’s sports programming. Every ball of the Women’s Ashes series was broadcast exclusively live, increasing women’s cricket shown on Sky Sports by over 100 hours on last year. Sky Sports viewers also saw exclusively live coverage of the Netball World Cup, part of over 200 hours of netball including the Vitality Netball Superleague and England internationals. The Solheim Cup and four of golf’s five majors were part of over 450 hours of women’s golf on Sky Sports. The only dedicated weekly women’s sports show, Sportswomen, continued to break new ground, and the Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards in association with Vitality helped to recognise the success of women’s sport across the board.
A record number of televised courts were shown on the red button during the 2015 US Open giving fans more choice than ever before. Highlights also included coverage of all nine ATP Masters 1000 events as Andy Murray claimed his first-ever clay court title against the King of Clay Rafael Nadal in front of a partisan Madrid crowd. There was also live action from every session of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and selected ATP 250 and 500 events, and in digital consumption, on-demand downloads of tennis content increased by nearly 100% to November.
Sky Sports was awarded the rights to Sunday Night and Monday Night Football taking the number of live NFL games in 2015 over the 100 mark.. The number of on-demand downloads has increased by a staggering 494% from 2014 while the launch of NFL 32 ahead of the 2015-16 season saw Sky Sports News HQ reach every NFL team in just one day.
Sky Sports News HQ
Sky Sports News HQ continued to break some of the biggest news stories in sport with a host of exclusives. These including Mo Farah’s interview at a critical point of his career, the crises at FIFA and the IAAF, the return of 92 Live and the introduction of NFL 32. Sky Sports News HQ remains the most watched go-to destination for sports fans to get all the latest news.
*According to ComScore multi-platform data (January – November 2015)
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