TNT Sports will offer an all-woman football presenting team when the new season gets under way.
The successor to BT Sport launched Tuesday morning with a promise to do “Right by the Fans” – and ambitions to increase their Prem coverage in the next TV rights deal.
But fans will immediately see the approach has changed with big name signing Laura Woods heading the front of camera crew.
And the channel has also landed Ally McCoist as a co-commentator and pundit – which is likely to see some of the back and forth the duo enjoyed on their talkSPORT breakfast show.
Woods, a huge viewer and listener favourite from her spells with talkSPORT and ITV, will be the face of TNT Sports’ Champions League and Big Fight coverage.
She will be among a clutch of female presenters among the 19 “leaders” of the channel’s sports package.
Lynsey Hipgrave will anchor the channel’s Prem coverage, with 32 Saturday 1230 fixtures and 20 midweek games across two fixtures blocks.
Reshmin Chowdhury will present Champions League action, while Jules Breach will present a Saturday show ahead of the big match coverage and then take on the touchline reporting role left vacant by the departure of BT’s tunnel man Des Kelly.
And the capture of McCoist, whose infectious enthusiasm has made the former Scotland striker massively popular, for a role as co-commentator on Prem and Champions League games is a major coup.
Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch and Joe Cole will head the TNT Sports pundits list but the channel has also engaged a number of other BT Sports faces including Owen Hargreaves, Steve McMananan, Joleon Lescott, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Robbie Savage.
But TNT Sports chiefs have decided they can do without a refereeing voice in the studio to explain or confuse viewers on VAR decisions – although they will be adding their weight to calls for live conversations between refs and Stockley Park to be broadcast.
In other sports, Orla Channaoui will join the rugby union presenting team with Suzi Perry leading MotoGP coverage.
TNT Sports is the brand name following the merger between BT Sports and Warner Bros Discovery, with the Eurosport channels to be rolled into the service over the next 18 months.
Current BT Sports subscribers will have seen their services transferred automatically while there will be a major streaming platform, discovery+, available on a wide range of devices.
Managing director Andrew Georgiou said: “TNT Sports will be a 100 per cent focused British brand and we promise to do ‘Right by the Fans’.
“It will be different, new and bold in terms of how we bring sport to life on air and our talent line-up is a reflection of the brand – passionate and energetic.
”We know the fans want humour and fun but also to take sport seriously and we have a team we feel is relatable to our viewers.”
There will be no replacement for the Saturday afternoon “Score” show, with the new channel switching from “live to live” with Prem matches frequently followed by Gallagher Premiership rugby union.
But it looks likely that TNT Sports will seek to add more Prem games when the next three-year rights auction begins at the end of this year.
Georgiou added: “We need to know what the packages, time-slots and picks are in the new deal because that is very important.
“But we have made it clear we must maintain our position as a premier broadcaster.”
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