Product Type: Sky TV channels
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The armchair supporter's friend
Sky Sports 1
Member Name: hugon
Sky Sports 1
Date: 24/02/02, updated on 24/02/02 (658 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent coverage of WWF, Dedication to football, Quality presentation
Disadvantages: Some sports shifted to Sky Sports Extra to encourage people to get Sky Digital, Quaite a lot of repeats during daytime hours
I've been a subscriber to Sky Sports 1 for about 6 months now, ever since I got ITV Digital installed. One of the main reasons I had it installed was to watch WWF Wrestling, and Sky Sports serves these purposes perfectly, showing a dedication to this and other Sports that terrestrial TV would struggle to.
My only gripe is the charge for Sky Sports 1 on ITV Digital - £15 per month, which includes Sky Sports 3 as a bonus channel. This makes my monthly subscription £27, for six primary channels, the free to air channels and Sky Sports 1 and 3. For an extra £3 I can have all the Sky primary channels, plus the full Sky Sports range on Sky Digital, and I will be migrating there come August, when my 12-month contract with ITV Digital has expired.
The other main reason I am moving to Sky Digital will be to get Sky Sports Extra. Not specifically for the interactive content on the channel, but because Sky see fit to place certain sports there to ensure people sign up to Sky Digital rather than get Sky Sports on another platform - I'm also interested in American Football and NBA, but Sky keep these Sports as Sky Digital exclusives by putting them on the Extra channel, which personally I think is a bit sly considering they do receive subscriptions from people on other platforms.
Aside from those little grievances, on the whole I'm delighted with the channel. Like I said before, WWF Wrestling is one of my major interests, and Sky Sports 1 shows all the major WWF shows - RAW on Friday evening, Smackdown on Saturday night, Excess on Sunday night, as well as Classics, Superstars, Jakked and Metal throughout the week. What's more, it shows the PPV once a month on Sunday nights/Monday morning, although the PPVs previously held by Channel 4 will be shown on Sky Box Office in the future. The best thing about WWF on Sky Sports is that it is able to show the shows uncensored, without certain words bleeped out, or without the shot cutting to the
crowd every time there is a chair shot or the like.
The other main reason for getting Sky Sports 1 would be for their exceptional football coverage, and you really are spoiled for choice - English Premier League, Scottish Premier League, Spanish First Division, and German first division if you have Extra. The presentation is exceptional, especially on English Premier League. As a dedicated sports channel, it can afford to start its programmes about an hour before kick off, to spend plenty of time analysing the match, as well as spending a similar amount of time after full time to review the match. You have the occasional Premier League match on a Saturday morning, a Scottish League and Spanish League match on Saturday evenings, a Premier League and Spanish League match on Sunday afternoon and evening, as well as the occasional Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening match. Add to this England and Republic of Ireland internationals and a dedication to under-21, under-19 and schoolboy football, and you have every football lover's dream, and the spouse of every football lover's nightmare.
Sky has, in my opinion, the best commentary team in the business, Martin Tyler and Andy Gray, both highly knowledgeable, and Gray and Richard Keys' Monday night football show is excellent television. Sky also employ some of the more prominent ex-pros to offer their opinions, and whenever there is a live match, you can usually guarantee the pundits will be an ex player of one of the teams involved. For a studio based show that shows no live action, the Saturday afternoon show is one of the best on the channel, with the likes of Rodney Marsh and George best analysing the matches currently underway, plus a continuous goal flash feed, a ticker of the top stories, as well as cycling latest scores of matches in all divisions. I used to listen to the radio to keep in touch on Saturday afternoons, now I find this show much more useful.
The matches they show
are varied: it isn't Manchester United every week, the smaller teams get shown just as frequently, and as the end of the season approaches it becomes very exciting. In Scotland, the live offering usually features one of either Rangers or Celtic, and the Spanish offerings usually feature Barcelona or Real Madrid, but they do show a more varied range of teams than in Scotland.
It's not just live football, it's the highlights packages they put together as well - there are weekly round up shows for each division, the Sunday morning Premier League show far exceeds ITV's offering. The live matches are also repeated during the day in the week as well, giving people a chance to catch them second time round should they miss them when they are first shown.
Those are the main things I watch on Sky Sports 1 - there is also live Rugby league during the summer, and most Rugby union is confined to Sky Sports 2, there is a review show on Sky Sports 1 during the week. Whilst not some of the major heavyweight outings, there is also a fair amount of boxing on Sky Sports 1, and most of it title fights in some of the lighter divisions. Golf again is mainly on Sky Sports 2, but there is a weekly round up show on Sky Sports 1. If you want live golf, you really should get Sky Sports 2, as it's dedication to the Sport is exception, with most major US PGA events live. There's darts, snooker, cards, motor sports, you name it, you'll find it somewhere under the Sky Sports umbrella. It's exceptional at what it does - showing quality sport presented well. Yes, there are adverts, but the format of the channel allows them to be placed at unobtrusive points where no live actions will be missed - in the case of WWF PPVs, it can show the entire three hours uninterrupted, where Channel 4 had to cut to a break every half hour or so.
The coverage it recently gave to the American Football superbowl was exception, a dedicated commentary team rath
er than just using the American feed, and two ex-pros in the studio, one of them an ex-superbowl winner. I had enjoyed Channel 4's coverage, but Sky's seemed a lot more professional and in depth, it could afford to spend the extra time building up to it, rather than just coming in to the program a few minutes before kick off.
Yes, £15 a month is expensive, but for that I get at least 6 hours of WWF per week, and I usually watch at least 2 of the live matches, as well as more of the highlights packages during the week. If I'm working at the computer, the TV will usually be tuned to Sky Sports 1, simply because I'm interested in a lot of the stuff it shows. I'm perfectly content to continue paying that £15 every month, and look forward to moving to Sky Digital to get the most out of the channel.