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Sky to give German viewers free-to-air access to its sports news channel

Six years after the UK version of the channel disappeared behind a paywall, Sky is to make its German version of Sky Sports News free-to-air.

In a surprise news "Sky Sport News" will become free-to-air in December, according to a report by the dpa news agency. The channel will be made available to all platform operators. Having spent millions on retaining Bundesliga rights in Germany and Austria, the pay TV giant hopes to use the sports news channel as a shop window for potential subscribers.

The move is likely to make the German language sports news channel freely available across most of Europe (and the UK via non-standard satellite installations) via the Astra 1 (19.2° East) satellite cluster.

But bosses at the company have ruled out making any other Sky service operating from the country free-to-air.

In 2010, Sky UK removed Sky Sports News from free-to-air TV, initially replacing the channel with Sky 3+1 on Freeview. In the UK, Sky has three main free-to-air channels: Sky News, Pick (the former Sky 3) and Challenge. There's no indication that Sky UK will follow suit and make Sky Sports News free-to-air.

N.B. Following queries from readers, in Germany, Sky Sports is called Sky Sport - without the second 's' in sport.