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FreeSports

FreeSports
FreeSportsLogo.jpg
Launched31 August 2017
Owned byPremier Media S.à r.l.
Picture format1080i, 16:9 (HDTV)
SloganBecause sport is better free!
Sister channel(s)Premier Sports
WebsiteFreeSports Website
Availability
Terrestrial
Freeview HDChannel 64
Satellite
FreesatChannel 252 (HD)
Sky (UK)Channel 422 (HD)
Sky (Ireland)Channel 435
Astra 2E
(28.2°E)
11426 V 29500 8/9 (HD)
Cable
Virgin MediaChannel 553 (HD)
IPTV
eir VisionChannel 419
Channel 432 (HD)

FreeSports is a British free-to-air sports channel operated and owned by Premier Media S.à r.l. The channel is operated in the United Kingdom, launched on 31 August 2017.[1]

History

FreeSports launched on 31 August 2017, with its aim to provide free-to-air sports coverage and become a top three dedicated sports channel in the UK.[1][2] It is available on all major platforms available in 18 million UK homes. It is only available on Freeview HD, not standard Freeview.[3] The channel holds a partnership with rights holders IMG, MP & Silva, Lagardère Group, Pitch International and Infront Sports & Media.[1] It is a sister channel of Premier Sports.[4] FreeSports released a statement in February 2018 that it will be going HD on Sky in Summer 2018, however the channel only remains available in standard definition. In May 2019, a move to HD on Sky UK was set for 15 July 2019.[1][2]

The channel launched on Virgin Media channel 553 on 21 July 2018. A temporary duplicate launched on channel 130 on Virgin Media at midnight on 22 July 2018, a slot previously vacated by Alibi +1 prior to the UKTV channels' removals, until the network was restored on 11 August 2018. On 25 September 2018, the channel launched in high definition on Virgin Media.[3] The HD version replaced the SD version on Freesat and Sky on 15 July 2019.[4]

Coverage

FreeSports aim to be majority live with over 1000 events a year for an average of 10 hours per day showing numerous sports, including association football, ice hockey, tennis, rugby league, rugby union, basketball, cricket, and snooker.[1]

Football

The first match shown live was a 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier between the Netherlands and England on 1 September 2017.[5] The channel also initially showed live coverage of the Primeira Liga (two games a week) & Segunda División (one game a week).[6] as well as numerous club TV shows, including Dortmund TV and AC Milan TV.[6] The channel also shows weekly highlights from the National League.[7]

In 2018, FreeSports held selected rights for the Copa do Brasil, while they also showed both Copa Libertadores Finals between the Argentine Superclásico rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate; together with BT Sport.[8][9]

In 2019, FreeSports began airing Eredivisie and Serie A fixtures alongside Premier Sports following the decline of online streaming service Eleven Sports, prior to securing rights to Major League Soccer (alongside Premier Sports and Sky Sports).[10][11] They also sealed exclusive rights to the 2018–19 Coupe de France from the quarter-final stage.[12] In May, FreeSports secured rights for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2019 Toulon Tournament, the 2019 Copa América (encore and highlights only) and the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.[13][14][15]

Ice hockey

The National Hockey League fronts the channel's ice hockey coverage with three games a week. Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin made the announcement on the channel's Twitter account.[16] However, the first live coverage of Ice Hockey was between Nottingham Panthers and Mountfield HK in the 2017–18 Champions Hockey League.[17] As well as NHL and CHL, the IIHF and SHL will also be shown live, while the Spengler Cup semi-finals and final will also be screened.[1] The Ice Hockey World Championships are expected to be shown on FreeSports including live coverage of games featuring Great Britain.

In March 2018, it was announced that FreeSports would be televising the KHL Playoffs throughout March & April and later announced it had a 2 year extension to televise live KHL from the 2018-2019 season onwards.

On July 20, 2018, FreeSports and the EIHL struck a deal that will see a live game shown every two weeks which will also feature highlights, starting with the forthcoming 2018/19 campaign.[18]

Motorsport

NASCAR features on the channel and will be broadcasting live the Daytona 500 2018 for the first time on free to air television in the UK.[19] FreeSports also shows the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series showing live as well as highlights of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.[1] Also live on the channel are Australian V8 Supercars, Swedish and Polish Speedway. There will also be highlights of Monster Jam, Arenacross, Formula D, Brisca Stock Car Racing and the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Pool

In February 2018, The International Professional Pool Association (IPA), FreeSports Champions Cup (Blackball) was televised live on FreeSports over the course of three days and was won by Ben Davies. Following this, the IPA FreeSports Pool Cup began on 12 February 2018 with the aim of finding Britain’s best Blackball pool player.

2019 the IPA world championship was broadcast. It started on Thursday 7th to Sat 9th February, with the final being contested between Marc Farnsworth of England and Tom Cousins from Wales.

Rugby league

The channel features delayed coverage of Toronto Wolfpack games in The Championship and, in conjunction with RugbyAM, live games from the National Conference League.[20] Last year the channel had covered the National Rugby League.[1] However the rights passed to Sky Sports for the 2018 season. The channel had also screened some games from the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Rugby Union

FreeSports showed Autumn internationals including France & Italy matches and is currently showing live BUCS Rugby matches.

On 30 April 2018, Premier Sports announced they have signed a landmark partnership to broadcast every game from the Guinness PRO14 live in high-definition across the UK for at least the next three years, with no less than 21 games (one per round) shown live free-to-air on FreeSports.[21]

Cricket

Bangladesh Premier League
Pakistan Super League
Mzansi Super League

Other Sports

Twenty-five events from the ATP World Tour 250 series, FEI Nations Cup (show jumping), Liga Española de Baloncesto (Spanish basketball), Drone Champions League, World Weightlifting Championships, Crankworx World Tour.[1] Live coverage of major events in the French horse-racing calendar began with the meeting at Chantilly on 10 September 2017.

Previous coverage

Combat sport

Basketball

The British Basketball League (BBL) signed a deal with FreeSports in January 2018 to broadcast a number of games during the remainder of the 2017-2018 season.[23] The first game broadcast on the channel was the BBL Trophy Final between Worcester Wolves v Cheshire Phoenix. Other live Spanish basketball on the channel is ACB Basketball from the Copa Del Rey series.

Cricket

The channel broadcast live coverage of the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League tournament.

Pro Wrestling

5 Star Wrestling was broadcast live on FreeSports from January to March 2018 featuring an array of British and American wrestling talent. During the first twelve shows in the UK wide arena tour, many high profile wrestlers were on the roster including Rob Van Dam, Rey Mysterio, Zack Gibson, John Morrison, Jack Hager, Adam Maxted, Carlito, Chris Masters and Eddie Ryan.[24]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "About FreeSports". FreeSports. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  2. ^ "FreeSports has exciting news today as we will officially launch in HD on Sky UK on July 15th!". FreeSports. 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  3. ^ "New Channels - Virgin Media Community". Virgin Media Community. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  4. ^ "We are now HD on Sky UK (422) and @freesat_tv (252)". FreeSports. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  5. ^ "FreeSports Football". Twitter. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b "FreeSports Football". Twitter. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  7. ^ FreeSports launches Football National League Highlights
  8. ^ "BT Sport customers get access to Copa Libertadores final | News | Sportcal". www.sportcal.com. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Copa Libertadores final gets FreeSports free-to-air UK screening". www.sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Freesports takes live Serie A and Eredivisie". a516digital. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Football - FreeSports". FreeSports. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  12. ^ "FreeSports picks up Coupe de France rights". SportBusiness Media. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  13. ^ "FIFA U20 World Cup". FreeSports. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Football - FreeSports". FreeSports. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Football - FreeSports". FreeSports. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  16. ^ "FreeSports Ice Hockey". Twitter. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  17. ^ "FreeSports Ice Hockey". Twitter. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  18. ^ "ELITE LEAGUE TO BE TELEVISED ON FREESPORTS | Elite Ice Hockey League - Pointstreak Sites". eliteleague.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  19. ^ "Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup opener to be shown on free-to-air TV in UK". Autosport.com. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  20. ^ "NCL secures live TV deal with FreeSports". www.rugby-league.com. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Every game for only £9.99 per month!". www.premiersports.com. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Cage Warriors hits free-to-air UK TV with FreeSports partnership". Cage Warriors. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  23. ^ "BBL games to be shown on FreeSports channel available in 18 million homes - BBL - British Basketball League". BBL - British Basketball League. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  24. ^ "5 Star Wrestling :: 5 STAR WRESTLING LIVE ON FREESPORTS: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW". 5starwrestling.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2018.

External links