Sky Sports launched its August programming today, promising unrivalled levels of avoiding mentioning anything remotely connected to athletics, swimming, or the 39 other sports being contested at the Rio Olympics over the next three weeks.
Across 7 Sky Sports channels, customers will enjoy an unprecedented 720 hours of the broadcaster blatantly ignoring one of the biggest ever celebrations of sport. Levels of taking no notice are expected to surpass those achieved by Sky during other recent Free-To-Air-Protected sporting events, notably Wimbledon and the Grand National. Dedicated Formula 1 and Cricket Channels will ensure that Sky viewers will, for the first time, be able to miss an anticipated 48 Medals for Team GB in slo-mo, HD and from 24 different camera angles.
Sky Sports has been preparing for Rio 2016 for months. News presenters have received special training in keeping a straight face, to be deployed when giving top billing to darts and WWE Wrestling just as Jessica Ennis-Hill is just seconds away from winning a second heptathlon gold. Ground-breaking ‘behind-the-desk’ technology will monitor whether presenters are using smartphones to get Twitter updates on the Brownlee brothers in the Triathlon when they are supposed to be reporting on Huddersfield Giants versus Hull KR in a Rugby Superleague relegation battle. Penalties for mentioning the Olympics during a broadcast include docking of salary, and, for serial offenders, a month co-presenting ‘Sunrise’ with Eamonn Holmes.
‘Yeh, sure, have a giggle at your crappy satirical piece about us becoming a sports broadcasting minnow for the next couple of weeks,’ said Sky’s Executive Product Manager. ‘But let’s see who’s laughing on 13th August when the Premier League football season starts again. Then we’ve got you over a barrel for another 9 months. Slightly quicker broadband speeds, a more expensive overall offer, and locking customers into the whole Sports package by splitting the footy across as many channels as we can. Or to put it another way: Faster, Higher, Stronger.’