IMG launches first-ever in-flight sports channel on Gulf Air routes

The IMG Media agency launched the world’s first in-flight global 24-hour sports channel on Gulf Air, the Bahrain state airline.

Sport 24 will feature live coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games, football from the English Premier League and German Bundesliga, and Formula One motor racing, as well as golf events such as the Masters, the Open Championship and the Ryder Cup, and tennis tournaments such as the French Open and Australian Open.

IMG Media said that discussions were ongoing with “a number of other airlines interested in taking the service” and the channel would be made available to cruise liners from March 1, with Norwegian Cruise Liners having already signed a deal to carry the channel on selected vessels.

Sport 24 is available through Panasonic’s eXTV network, carried by Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Sky Hub systems, which provide broadband connectivity and a live television service. The Sky Hub systems are currently available on long-haul flights to and from Europe and some intra-Gulf routes.

IMG Media will produce all of the programming from the agency’s London base.

“Sport 24 will revolutionise the way passengers watch live sports on airlines and
cruise ships,” IMG Media senior vice-president Richard Wise said.