Comcast's Sky U.K. Letting Subs Pause Sports Subscriptions Amid Coronavirus

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Mo Salah of English Premier League club Liverpool

Sports TV providers are scrambling to retain customers facing a blackout of live events.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic having seen almost all professional sporting events and leagues shut down, pan-European pay TV giant Sky, owned by Comcast, is giving its U.K. customers the chance to pause subscriptions to its premium Sky Sports channel. 

"In light of recent sports event postponements, you can pause your Sky Sports until the action resumes," the company posted on its website.

Sky exclusively airs the majority of the soccer games of the hugely popular English Premier League, which last week announced it was postponing until early April (although this is expected to be pushed back even further). Rugby, cricket, golf, tennis and Formula One competitions have also been severely disrupted by crisis. 

The decision comes as a number of global sports providers move to retain customers now facing a sports blackout. Earlier this week, the Nordic Entertainment Group temporarily reduced the price of its Scandinavian streaming service Viaplay

Sky Sports and BT Sports — which has the second-biggest tranche of English Premier League games in the U.K. and also airs the now-postponed European Champions League competition — have also stopped billing their commercial customers.

“This is a goodwill gesture that we are putting in place while we monitor the situation,” BT Sport said in a statement. “We will keep customers updated as the situation develops.”

In the U.S., streamer FuboTV, which focuses primarily on the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS — all of which have ground to a halt — is now moving to news and entertainment programming to fill the holes in its scheduling.