Premier Sports is an Irish pay television sports channel launched in 2009, owned by Premier Media Broadcasting. Premier Sports holds exclusive live UK and Republic of Ireland TV rights to La Liga, Scottish League Cup, Elite Ice Hockey League, NHL and NASCAR. Premier Sports has shared rights to the United Rugby Championship in the UK and exclusive live rights to 53 Premier League games in the Republic of Ireland. They also hold shared rights to the Scottish Cup with BBC Scotland.
Premier Sports was formed in 2009 by the Irish businessman Michael O'Rourke, a joint CEO and part owner of Setanta Sports and former director of Premium Sports. The channel initially focused on broadcasting sporting events that had not been available in Great Britain since the collapse of Setanta Sports GB on 22 June 2009, and were not picked up by rival sports broadcasters ESPN and Sky Sports, but are available through Setanta in Ireland. The channel's management is made up of CEO O'Rourke, General Manager Richard Sweeney and Operations Director Richard Webb. Premier Sports is run by Premier Media Broadcasting, who operate out of Dublin, Ireland. In April 2013, Premier Sports and Premier Sports Extra began to share their satellite stream with Setanta Sports 1; the arrangement continued after Premier Sports Extra closed on 13 June 2013. Only Premier Sports' branding appears on the channel, with the exception of Setanta's coverage of the Premier League, which was blocked on Premier Sports.
Premier Sports operates on satellite provider Sky. MSK and MSK Extra were added to Sky on 25 September 2009 and relabelled Premier Sports and Premier Sports Extra on 29 July 2010. On 13 June 2013, Premier Sports Extra closed with its Sky EPG slot believed to have been sold to the Muslim World Network, which launched on the same day. Premier Sports Extra only operated for a limited number of hours during midweek, when Premier Sports closed as they used a single satellite stream. The channels were free-to-air to both domestic and commercial customers from launch, but became a pay subscription channel on 5 August 2010. However, the channel is sold independently by Premier Sports, rather than through Sky. On 30 June 2010, the video bit rate was increased from 2.8Mbit/s to 4.2Mbit/s. Initially, Premier Sports was only available in Great Britain, but became available in Northern Ireland on 3 November 2011. Premier Sports Extra was still limited to Great Britain until its closure. For many years, Premier Sports was not available on Virgin Media, although negotiations were held in early 2012. Talks broke down when the company declined Virgin Media's offer to distribute the channel as a standalone add-on, as it is on satellite, as the former wanted to be bundled into one of the latter's basic TV packages. On 25 October 2013, the channel launched on Virgin Media as a free channel, the day before the start of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup; It became a subscription channel on 1 March 2014. On 22 August 2014, Premier Sports, along with BoxNation, launched on TalkTalk; it was removed on 9 August 2016. In August 2012, Premier Sports launched an online subscription streaming service, run in conjunction with Ustream. The 2Mbit/s stream broadcast all events and programming on the TV channel. In April 2013, Premier Sports launched their own online player to replace the Ustream service. The service is available on multiple platforms including iOS and Android. As well as live streaming, the service also features seven day catch-up and optional season long on-demand content. Some sports are also available to view worldwide. On 30 April 2018, Premier Sports announced they would launch a Premier Sports 2 channel on the Sky and Virgin platforms after signing a contract with PRO14 Rugby to broadcast every game across the UK for at least the next three years. The HD channel was relabelled Premier Sports 1 on 18 July and launched on Virgin Media, replacing the SD version, which simultaneously was relabelled Premier Sports 2. New logos were adopted for both Premier Sports and its sister channel FreeSports.
On 31 August 2017, Premier Sports launched their sister channel FreeSports, a free-to-air sports channel dedicated to providing live sport to the Great British public. It is available on all major platforms available in 18 million UK homes. FreeSports aims to air a majority of live programming, with over 1000 events a year for an average of 10 hours per day featuring numerous sports, including MMA, kickboxing, association football, ice hockey, tennis, rugby league, basketball, boxing, and cricket. Premier Sports Asia was launched on 22 October 2020 as an over-the-top (OTT) streaming channel for select Asian regions. The channel is also available as a traditional linear channel (branded as Premier Sports) replacing the RugbyPass TV channel for select Asian countries in late 2021. It takes over some of the rights to air competitions previously held by RugbyPass TV. Unlike the parent channel, Premier Sports Asia only airs rugby union matches.
In 2014, Premier Sports began live coverage of the Belgian Pro League, with three matches from each round of fixtures. Premier Sports also broadcasts a selection of friendly matches during the football season, e.g. New York Red Bulls against Arsenal in 2014  or all International Champions Cup matches not involving Manchester United or Liverpool. In May 2015, Premier Sports announced it had won exclusive multi-year rights to all 26 games of Copa América (including Copa América Centenario in 2016), starting from the 2015 Copa América that runs between 11 June and 4 July. Premier Sports shows UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League qualifiers that include British teams, including Shkëndija versus Aberdeen in July 2015. In June 2018, it was announced Premier Sports had won rights to start broadcasting English Premier League games on the Saturday 3 p.m. slot exclusively to viewers in Ireland from the start of the 2019-20 season, taking over from Sky Sports. Eoin McDevitt hosts coverage alongside studio pundits, Damien Delaney, Richard Dunne, Kenny Cunningham and David Moyes. The lead commentator is Des Curran, Clive Tyldesley or Will Downing with Gary Breen or Brian Kerr the co-commentators. In November 2018, Premier Sports announced a 6-year deal with the SFA starting in 2019 to air the Scottish Cup. The exclusive live rights include the first 2 picks from rounds 4, last 16 and quarter-finals and first pick of a semi-final. There are also options to show matches in rounds 1-3 and the final and other semi-final non-exclusively with the BBC. Also in November 2018, Premier Sports netted the UK and Ireland rights to the Scottish League Cup, currently known as the Premier Sports Cup for sponsorship reasons, for the next five years and will exclusively broadcast between 12 and 16 live Betfred Cup (the Scottish League Cup) matches and highlights per season, starting with the 2020–2021 season. In January 2019, Premier Sports had secured rights to the Dutch Eredivisie and the Chinese Super League after Eleven Sports cancelled the competition rights. In February 2019, it was announced that Premier Sports had secured La Liga rights in the UK & Ireland, showing 4 live matches per round from matchday 25 until the end of the 2018/2019 season. Premier Sports also broadcast weekly highlights, previews and magazine shows. Leading on from this, in September, Premier Sports confirmed that they had become exclusive UK rights-holders to La Liga, starting with matchday 4 of the 2019–20 season until the end of the 2021–22 season. They added that most matches would be put on the LaLigaTV channel, which would become available to all existing Premier Sports subscribers on the Premier Player from October, and on Sky by January 2020. One match per round would be broadcast live on sister free-to-air channel FreeSports.
Premier Sports currently has exclusive British TV rights to approximately 75% Gaelic Athletic Association games broadcast live Gaelic games, including all matches from packs 2,3,4,7,8 & 9 from the Championships, All televised National Football League and National Hurling League, the Irish-hosted versions of the International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland, and also the rights to show archived classic Gaelic football and hurling matches in Great Britain.