Sky Sports turns to David Beckham in turf war against BT

The battle between BSkyB and BT's new sports channel is hotting up, with Sky Sports turning to arguably the most famous British sportsman of them all, David Beckham, for its new ad campaign this week.

Sky’s TV campaign uses special effects to show several different versions of former England and Manchester United football star, enjoying the convenience and flexibility of watching Sky Sports wherever he wants.

During the 60-second ad, Beckham is seen watching Sky Sports on a TV, laptop, smartphone and mobile tablet in a variety of locations.

Alongside the TV ad, the multimillion-pound campaign will also run across print, outdoor, digital and through social media channels.

It was developed by agencies Brothers & Sisters and Inferno, with media planning and buying handled by MediaCom.

The TV ad launched yesterday across a number of Sky and terrestrial channels and is part of a wider Sky marketing campaign designed to remind customers about the offerings of all six Sky Sports channels and in HD and 3D, only available on Sky.

It comes ahead of the launch of BT Sport on 1 August, based at the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

BT's foray into sport comes after winning the broadcast rights to the Premier League from the 2013–14 to the 2015–16 season in June 2012, having outbid former broadcaster ESPN. In February 2013, BT announced it had acquired ESPN's UK channels and their sports broadcasting rights in time for the start of the new season.

BT Sport is being rolled out to all of the company's five million-plus broadband customers free of charge, including 38 exclusive live Premier League games per season, 18 of which are "top pick" matches. BT has set aside £100 million to promote its new sports channels, as it attempts to overthrow two decades of football dominance by BSkyB ahead of next season's Premier League.

Sky has responded by offering existing and new Sky Sports customers 12 months' free Sky Broadband Unlimited (£14.50 line rental) or six months' free Sky Fibre Unlimited (£20 a month thereafter, £14.50 line rental) when they switch their broadband to Sky Broadband Unlimited or upgrade to Sky Fibre Unlimited.

Sky Sports is also promoting the first day of the Premier League season by making its live coverage free for the day.

Programmes from its premium channel, Sky Sports 1, will replace the regular programming on Sky 2 (on Sky and other pay-TV services) and Pick TV (on Freeview and You View) on Saturday 17 August. It will ensure millions of home viewers will be able to view a live Premier League match, a Football League fixture, plus a host of other football shows at no cost.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s managing director of sales and marketing, said: "One of the most celebrated and iconic players of all time, there’s simply no one better than David Beckham to help us launch the biggest-ever season of Premier League football on Sky Sports."

Former Real Madrid star Beckham became an ambassador for Sky in April, in what was described as a "long-term partnership" to encourage grassroots sport across the UK and Ireland, as well as to promote Sky’s sports services.

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