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3 ties up Sky Sports content deal

Golf and football on your handset

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3 has signed a video content partnership deal with Sky Sports, the operator announced today. Subscribers will be able to access specially edited sports bulletins, up to two minutes long, as well as Sky's weekly Soccer AM TV show.

The agreement also covers text and information from Sky offering coverage of Football Club news for both the English and Scottish Leagues, with exclusive video match highlights, previews, archive footage and Premiership match round-ups. It also includes golf news from the European Tour.

The operator says the deal "builds on 3's success with the Barclaycard FA Premier League highlights which have been so popular with customers". However, 3 won't release the relevant subscriber numbers so it is hard to know how popular it actually is, or to get a feel for the impact this deal with Sky will make.

We suspect that if the numbers were really that impressive, they'd be shouting them from the rooftops. Silence, in this case, may be quite informative.

Operators can take some comfort, however, from the European Commission's decision earlier this year to launch an inquiry into the sale of sports rights to 3G operators. It said that sport, especially football, was a powerful driver of pay-TV subscriptions and that it expected it would be the same on phones.

Mario Monti, competition commissioner, said at the time that the "success of the service weighs heavily on the operators' ability to deliver attractive audiovisual content". ®

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