A year after launching its HD channel on the platform, the broadcaster says it can’t agree on commercial terms with the satellite TV provider.
FreeSports was pulled from Freesat on Tuesday 30th June, leaving the platform without any dedicated sports channels. FreeSports has become the latest channel to leave Freesat over the last few years citing similar issues. The most notable fall-out resulted in Channel 4 HD and All 4 being removed from the platform.
Most affected viewers have two options to restore access to FreeSports:
- Live stream online via the FreeSports Player
- Manually tuning their existing Freesat receiver – although some devices, such as LG Smart TVs with in-built Freesat force viewers to choose between Freesat or a general unsorted list of free-to-air satellite channels.
The manual tuning parameters for FreeSports HD are:
- Satellite: Astra 28.2
- Frequency: 11426
- Polarisation: Vertical
- Symbol Rate: 29500
- FEC: 8/9
- Service ID:*52575
Analysis: FreeSports is the cost-conscientious sports channel
Launched in 2017, FreeSports has quickly gathered a fanbase for its range of sports, which include a selection of free La Liga matches. While its Freeview coverage has remained patchy, its Freesat outlet was the only truly free-to-air option for the whole UK, via a traditional TV platform. But in the last few years it’s been clear it’s extremely cautious with distribution arrangements and commercial viability, shutting FreeSports Ireland as quickly as it launched, and closing its standard definition service on satellite after going HD, not bothering with years of simulcasting in both formats, as has become common elsewhere. And unlike some other broadcasters on Freeview, it has so far remained on temporary Freeview capacity serving just under 75% of the UK, rather than moving across to a more expensive, permanent slot that enjoys 90% coverage.
By removing its Freesat outlet, there’s technically nothing stopping FreeSports from encrypting on satellite should it be able to get better terms with Sky behind the paywall.
But with sister service Premier Sports continuing to widen its reach and thanks to the growing acceptance of subscription TV apps offering a non-binding monthly subscription, it would not be surprising if FreeSports was ultimately folded in to Premier Sports, with selected live events offered on a free-to-stream or free-to-view basis. Premier’s linear outlets would ensure it wouldn’t fall into the same trap as Eleven Sports UK, which failed to gain traction and fell out of favour with rights holders because it didn’t have any carriage on any of the traditional platforms.