But while sports fans will lap up Sky Sports’ coverage of 159 Premier League matches, the cablenet is dropping the Eir Sports pack, arguing the price levied by the telco was excessive.
Virgin’s agreement renews carriage of Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts and Sky News, as well as Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports News HQ and the newly rebranded Sky Cinema (formerly Sky Movies). New basic channel Sky Sports Mix will also be available.
The cablenet said that it would drop the eir Sports pack from 31st July.
Bill Blake, Virgin Media Ireland’s head of TV content said: “At Virgin the customer is at the heart of all our content decisions and the significant reduction in content by over 40% within the eir Sports pack made the economics of offering the pack to our customers unsustainable. We have made every effort to agree commercial terms with eir Sport that reflect the reduced value within their sports pack however their pricing was excessive and simply wasn’t realistic relative to their content offering which has essentially been halved.”
Eir Sport 1 was previously known as Setanta Ireland. Its coverage included F1, GAA, FA Cup, Rep. of Ireland internationals and lots more live sport.
A statement from the telco said eir Sport remains available on all other pay TV platforms including eir Vision, Sky and Vodafone in Ireland.
It’s not unknown for Virgin to drop or refuse to carry a channel on price grounds. For example Sky Atlantic is not a part of the Virgin line-up.
The question is how important Irish sports are to the 300,000 Virgin cable customers in Ireland.