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Sky is cutting the price of its specialist sports channels by up to two-thirds, reports suggest, as part of a rebrand that will also see consumers given the option to only pay for the sports they're interested in.

According to the Guardian, Sky will charge £18 for its cheapest sports package, as opposed to £49.50 at the moment.

As part of the shake-up, Sky Sports is retiring its numbered sports channels and replacing them with themed channels, with two channels devoted to football and others focusing on the likes of golf and cricket.

These will follow the pattern set by Sky's existing channel devoted to Formula 1, while a new channel called Sky Sports Arena will showcase other sports including tennis and rugby.

Sky is hoping that cutting its prices will help it attract customers who are used to paying relatively modest sums for online streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Richard Broughton, a director at Ampere Analysis, commented: "There are a range of reasons why Sky would be looking at such a big structural change to its pay-TV service.

"In part, it could be a response to the ongoing question of viewing numbers to traditional pay-TV sport. 

"There is also a demographic shift where people, especially younger groups, are reluctant to spend so much."

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Broughton suggested that if Sky is able to get millennials and other groups on a budget in on cheap packages, the provider could look to upsell at a later date.

He noted that reducing the cost of the monthly TV package could also allow Sky to reduce the price of its Now TV monthly pass to "attract more occasional viewers without cannibalising the higher-value satellite TV base.”

Broughton added that by having channels devoted to specific sports, Sky will be able to account for the popularity of each sport and gauge how much the rights are really worth to the company.

News of the shake-up comes shortly after Sky began trialling a loyalty scheme, offering long-time customers free movies and tickets and “access to exclusive money-can’t-buy experiences”.

A small number of customers have been asked if they wish to opt in to the Sky VIP program, with people being offered perks including a free Welcome Gift of a movie worth up to £13.99 via Sky’s Buy and Keep offer,.

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