A film student adjusts the settings on a camera.

Sky Sports Seeks New Creative Voices Through New Production Fund

Sky today unveils a new production fund designed to uncover fresh talent in sports content creation. The New Focus Fund from Sky Sports will be open to independent production companies and content creators who bring new ideas and perspectives to storytelling across Sky Sports' channels.

Developed in recognition that traditional routes into sports media can be limited, and often attract narrow talent pools, the fund offers creators the opportunity to submit content ideas that they think Sky Sports is currently missing. Submissions for a range of mediums are welcomed, including television, social media and podcasts, and should have sports at their heart. 

The Fund is part of Sky Sports’ commitment to becoming the most entertaining, innovative and inclusive sports media business in Europe – attracting new audiences is key to that ambition. 

A dedicated panel of experts including Sky Sports Presenter Naomi Schiff and Sky Diversity Advisory Council member and ex-Dragon’s Den judge Piers Linney will assess the submissions against a criteria designed to identify the best inclusive sports content.

Successful applicants will then take part in a 12-week development and skills exchange program, partnered with Sky Sports subject experts and senior stakeholders, to hone their ideas before being commissioned for production and premiered across relevant Sky Sports channels.

Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, Sky UK & Ireland and Chief Commercial Officer, Sky Group, said: “Unlocking opportunities for new creative voices is critical to ensuring that we’re offering innovative content that authentically represents our audiences. We recognize the unique position Sky holds in amplifying these voices and empowering talent both in front of and behind the camera, which is why we’re launching the New Focus Fund today.”

Naomi Schiff, Sky Sports Formula One Presenter, commented: “It’s great to see that Sky Sports has created a pathway for new voices on its channels. There remain barriers for under-represented talent to enter roles within the sports industry, but whatever the role or profession, everyone should have an equal opportunity to reach their potential. This fund is one way that we can help open doors for more people, and I can’t wait to hear and see how these creators  bring their stories to life.”

Piers Linney, entrepreneur, and Sky Diversity Advisory Council member, commented:“Opportunities to challenge the status quo and drive equitable chances is exactly why I joined Sky’s Diversity Advisory Council. I’m excited to bring my experience as an entrepreneur and from working in media and communications to this initiative, helping to champion a platform for those who are too often under-represented by the industry.”

The New Focus Fund has been funded by Sky as part of its £30 million commitment to tackle structural inequality, support diversity and inclusion, and use its voice to make a difference in communities impacted by racism.

Applications are open from today until 11:59pm on Friday 28 July for external and internal candidates via www.skysports.com/newfocusfund. The fund is open to individual content creators and independent production companies. Sky particularly encourages applications from under-represented groups including those with Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic backgrounds, individuals with Disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sky’s £30 million commitment

In June 2020, Sky announced a £30 million commitment to accelerate action on racial injustice and invest more in inclusion. Since then, we have been driving change across our business, using our voice to raise awareness and champion causes inside and outside of Sky. We’re working with several partners including Mission 44, Kick It Out, Valuable 500 and Black Equity Organisation to tackle the social injustices facing our industry and wider society, building on a long history of using our scale to push for change.