Sky says it has signed a new four-year deal with beIN Sports - and that from tomorrow Sky Sport 7 will be renamed Sky Sport 7 beIN Sports.
Sky Sport 7 is already carrying football from Sky's long-time partner beIN. The extended contract cements their partnership in the face of the Spark Sport insurgency.
Sky Sport 7 beIN Sports content includes Uefa's Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020 competitions, plus the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and English second division, the top-flight Spanish, German and Italian leagues, plus the FIFA World Cup and A League games including Wellington Phoenix matches (see the full lineup below).
In short, the discerning football fan now has more content available than ever before but - presuming they also want to follow the English Premier League on Spark Sport - it will be weighing on their wallet like never before, too.
For satellite viewers, Sky Sport 7 beIN Sports is available as part of a Sky Sport package, which $31.99 a month on top of an obligatory $25.99/month Starter plan (although it could also be accessed via the $20/week or $40/month Sky Sport Now app; beIN SPORTS no longer accepts direct subscriptions to its beIN Sports Connect app, but Sky subscribers will be able to access Connect using their Sky Go logon).
Meanwhile, while Spark Sport might only have one football competition, it's the most-watched league on the planet.
The Herald understands that Doha-based beIN, which has been expanding its presence globally ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, paid $10m for NZ rights to the English Premier League for the three seasons up to 2018/19. It streamed EPL games through its app, but also offered two channels and two pop-ups via a partnership with Sky.
Spark Sport seized EPL rights for the next three-season cycle at a cost that one veteran sports rights negotiator estimates at $12m to $15m.
EPL fans did not miss beIN Sports on a technical level (it managed to blackout all 10 games on the final day of the 2018/19 season, making Spark Sport's recent Premier League wobbles pale in comparison).
But more recently, fans have missed beIN's capable half-time and post-match shows, which featured an A-list lineup of commentators and former EPL stars.
Spark Sport's half-time hights without analysis and random collection of post-match interviews feels a bit blunt by comparison.
Sky Sport 7 beIN Sports content
Major League Soccer
UEFA Champions League
UEFA EURO 2020
UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifiers
UEFA Nations League
UEFA Europa League
FIFA World Cup
FA Community Shield
FIFA Under 17 World Cup
FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
FIFA Futsal Soccer World Cup
French League Cup
UEFA Super Cup
Scottish League Cup