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Sky and Whistle Sports Team Up - UPDATED

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Update: With over a year since the launch of the Soccer AM channel, we thought it was time to drop in on the channel to see how it was doing. Well, the good news is that it's still very much operational, with very videos on an almost daily basis. Unfortunately, it's not proven quite the hit Sky would have hoped it might become, with less than 500,000 subscribers and average video views sitting less than 100,000. We reached out for comment via the Sky phone numbers, but none was forthcoming.

Aside from their very public battle with BT Sport, Sky have been casting an eye to the future and, well, they haven't liked what they've seen. More and more, young people are using the Internet to drive their engagement with competitive sports, watching clips on YouTube and enjoying the immediacy and shareability of the content on offer. Whilst at the moment this isn't the crowd which are likely to pay for Sky Sports, in the space of a few short years, Sky will start seeing the effects as potential younger customers don't sign up to the service.

As such, Sky's decision to launch a dedicated YouTube channel with Whistle Sports makes perfect sense. This dedicated social media channel will be dedicated to creating original footballing content to young fans from around the globe. Using Sky's popular Soccer AM brand and leveraging Sky's unrivaled collection of football clips, it should prove a successful venture for Sky. It's been available for the past week across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Vine, and has already seen a good number of views.

The content being produced features a variety of new faces such as England Women's footballer Alex Scott as well as traditional Sky Sports talent like Adam Smith and Laura Woods. There will also be original programming, entertaining videos and posts covering football topics such as gambling, fantasy football, stats and skill highlight videos.

This joint venture marks the first collaboration since Sky invested $7 million in Whistle Sports back in October 2014. Since then, the two companies have been working behind the scenes to create new and exciting content, aimed at the 'young millennials' who Sky hope will soon have the homes and spare cash to pick up the Sky telephone line and sign up to Sky Sports in the future.

The launch over the past week has focused on the release of FIFA 16 and has brought together some of the biggest names in YouTube vlogging to look at the characters that surround the game, its evolution over the years and its role in sports gaming. These videos have seen a tremendous response from eager gamers who can't wait to get their hands on the game.

Dave Gibbs, director of digital media at Sky Sports, said: “Whistle Sports has led the way in producing entertaining digital sports content in the US for some time now with hugely engaged audiences. The new Soccer AM channel on social media is going to do something very different to what football supporters are used to from Sky Sports. We will produce new types of content, with new presenters for new audiences. By combining our expertise and talent, we hope to produce something that will really excite young football fans.”

Whistle Sports CEO John West said: “Young millennial sports fans increasingly use social media to drive their engagement with live sports. Our community of compelling creators have grown to serve that need and engage a growing generation of global sports fans," pointing out that Whistle Sports recently broke an aggregate 100 million global fans and followers across social platforms.

"Sky makes a perfect partner for our international expansion due to their commitment to innovation. This new brand, new content and new approach around the world's most popular sport is a great new offering."

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