Sky Sport Update: May 25 – 31

With live PGA coverage not resuming until June 12, golf fans can feel truly teed off about today’s Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson contest screening on CNN International.

Given Sky has a dedicated HD golf channel that’s been airing archival tournaments since mid-March, save for last week’s Rory McIlroy COVID relief effort, you’d have thought Sky Sport 6 would have been the platform on which to showcase such a headline event.

But instead it screened in SD on a cable news channel. Why? Because it was a WarnerMedia-owned CNN product and the licensing precluded it from airing on SS6.

What a fiasco! If Sky broadcast CNN in HD, as it should be doing by now (especially with news viewership on the rise), that would have mitigated the lunacy.

But for the rights to a match like this being exclusive to a channel not synonymous with sport, on a platform that has a 24/7 golf channel, beggars belief.

And makes you wonder why you should bother supporting Sky by maintaining your subscription to a premium tier package when, amid an unprecedented dearth of live coverage, a battle of the titans languished on a channel where most golf fans wouldn’t have seen it!

It doesn’t appear to be Sky’s fault but rather a WarnerMedia initiative — and one that was an ultra-late addition to CNN’s schedule (it didn’t even feature in the Coming Up Next highlights Sky emailed subscribers last week).

But whoever’s to blame, it reflects poorly on Sky and needlessly angers subscribers already frustrated by not getting their money’s worth (Sky’s bonus offers notwithstanding).

As for this week’s Sky Sport highlights:

Rugby League is Back!

It’s the big one, with NRL returning to Sky Sport on May 28  and the Vodafone Warriors taking the field on Saturday (coverage of the latter starts 4.30 on Sky Sport 4 and will stream live on Sky Sport Now.

Here’s this week’s line-up on Sky Sport 4:

  • NRL 360 Live, 8.30 Monday-Wednesday
  • Thu 9pm | Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels Live
  • Fri 7pm | North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans Live
  • Fri 9.30pm | Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs Live
  • Sat 4.30pm | New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons Live
  • Sat 7.30pm | Cronulla Sharks v Wests Tigers Live
  • Sat 9.35pm | Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders Live
  • Sun 5pm | Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights Live
  • Sun 8pm | Manly Sea Eagles v Canterbury Bulldogs Live

The Breakdown (Sky Sport 1, 8.30 Tuesday): Hear from Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jordie Barrett and Dr Ben O’Keeffe on his COVID-19 experiences.

The Crowd Goes Wild (Sky Sport 9, 7.00 Tuesday and Thursday): Wairangi shoots some hoops with the Breakers, Josh Kronfeld chats with Highlanders playmaker Josh Ioane and Anna heads out on the water with Olympic bound Nacra sailors Micah Wilkson & Erica Dawson. All that plus we dive deep into the NRL archives in Blast from the Past.

Sky SportPresents The Pod (Sky Sport 3, 8.30 Thursday): A full and frank chat between Ian Smith and Israel Dagg is why this is fast becoming one of the must-watch shows on Sky Sport.

Lance (ESPN, 11.00 Monday): A critical look at one of the most controversial figures in world sport, Lance Armstrong.

Here’s the timetable for the return of live sports:

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6 Responses to “Sky Sport Update: May 25 – 31”

  1. Glad you’ve raised this. I’m a golf fan but I couldn’t really make it through, given it was in SD. It looked terrible and degraded what was a great, fun charity event.

  2. Absolutely right, Clint! Even if I had known it was on CNN, I wouldn’t have bothered because of the SD quality. It was a barmy strategy that made Sky look ridiculous but worked well in the US, where it screened across WarnerMedia channels TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN and became the “most-watched golf telecast in the history of cable television”.

  3. It’s one of the things that irks me with Sky NZ is that the news channels are in HD in the country of origin and have been for years but down here are in SD.

  4. Couldn’t agree more, Paul. Not sure if that’s because of Sky’s reluctance to take HD feeds or if they’re not being made available in this market. For years Sky was broadcasting CNN International in 4:3 SD when the US had it in widescreen — but because NZ was lumped in with the Asian service CNN pumped out, this territory couldn’t access it. CNNI is now in HD in Japan, so that shouldn’t be the case. Not sure how many of its news channels Foxtel has in HD but Australia defines HD as 720p so any improvement there might be marginal.

  5. Looking at Foxtel’s channel lineup for the News category, only SkyNews, SkyNewsUK and FoxNews are offered in HD.

  6. Thanks, Mike. I checked the Foxtel site and it wasn’t clear if the news channels bundled with the HD packages were HD, too, so appreciate the clarification.

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