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Cycling fans could miss out as Sky looks set to lose Eurosport

Jack Elton-Walters
27 Jan 2017

'If they played football' campaign started by Discovery to highlight impasse in negotiations with Sky

An impasse in negotiations looks set to mean that Sky and NOW TV subscribers will lose access to a number of channels, including Eurosport.

The dispute between Discovery, whose portfolio includes Eurosport, and broadcaster Sky means that as many as 12 channels could disappear as early as 31st January if a resolution cannot be reached.

This year Eurosport is set to show 200 days of live cycling and recently announced a deal that means it will have geographically exclusive rights to the Giro d'Italia and other Italian races until 2020.

According to Discovery, the deal on offer would mean that Sky would be paying less than it did 10 years ago while consumer prices have increased in that decade.

Discovery's portfolio has grown by 30% since 2010, an increase that includes Eurosport. 

'We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters,' said Susanna Dinnage, Managing Director of Discovery Networks UK and Ireland.

'The vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat.'

Discovery has placed itself as a defender of consumer rights during the dispute. 

'Somebody has to stand up for consumers, because consumers believe they are paying for choice and diversity – they deserve better. Discovery is prepared to take that stand,' Dinnage added. 

BT and Virgin Media subscibers will be unaffected, at present, as Discovery has standalone agreements in place with those broadcasters. 

In response, a Sky spokesperson told Cyclist 

'Despite our best efforts to reach a sensible agreement, we, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic.

'Discovery’s portfolio of channels includes many which are linear-only where viewing is falling.

'Sky has a strong track record of understanding the value of the content we acquire on behalf of our customers, and as a result we’ve taken the decision not to renew this contract on the terms offered.' 

Article updated to include Sky response 

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