Super Sunday (known as Nissan Super Sunday for sponsorship reasons) is Sky Sports' flagship live association football programme, broadcasting live Premier League football on most Sundays over the course of a season. The main live game will typically kick off at 4:00pm, often following a 1:30pm game, on Sky Sports 1.
It had been presented since its debut in August 1992 by former TV-am host Richard Keys alongside a variety of guest match pundits until January 2011. From the 2005–06 season, former Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp joined Keys as a regular pundit. The commentary team of Martin Tyler and former Scotland striker Andy Gray became synonymous with Sky's football coverage until Gray was sacked in January 2011 although other commentators may be used. In April 2011, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville was confirmed as his replacement.
The first match shown on Super Sunday was between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool on 16 August 1992, a match Forest won 1-0. This first broadcast featured a digital on-screen graphic (DOG) throughout the game showing the score and match time. It was the first time a UK broadcaster had done such a thing and DOGs are now part of coverage of virtually all televised sports worldwide.
In the first four seasons of the programme, Ford Super Sunday – the title due to major sponsorship with the Ford Motor Company – used to start at 2:00pm, giving viewers two hours build-up before the slightly untraditional kick-off time of 4:00pm, as opposed to a Saturday kick-off at 3:00pm. Eventually, Sky decided this was a bit too much, and in 1996 decided to start the programme at 3:00pm instead. From the 2004–05 season, some Super Sunday coverage started as early as 1:00pm if two live games were shown that day. From the 2005–06, coverage began at 3:30pm if only one live game was shown.
Sometimes, three live games are shown on Super Sunday, with the games kicking off at 12:00pm, 2:05pm and 4:10pm respectively. This can happen because of one of two reasons, either Sky selecting three matches for live broadcasting on a Sunday during the three time slots or the Saturday 12.45pm game being rescheduled for Sunday at 12:00pm due to the team featured playing in the UEFA Europa League the preceding Thursday night. Sunday noon kick-offs are sometimes broadcast on BT Sport instead.
Sky advertise Super Sunday as showing the Premier League's biggest match of the weekend, but, although they have first pick of live Premier League games on most weekends, there are numerous restrictions which mean the best game does not necessarily kick off at 4:00pm, or is even broadcast on Sky. Police restrictions mean many derby matches must kick off earlier while there are restrictions on the number of times Sky can show each team per season. Additionally, Sky can not move a game to take place on Super Sunday if one of the teams involved is playing in the UEFA Champions League the following Tuesday, in order to give the team time to recover. As Sky are also the broadcasters of the Football League Cup, the final takes centre stage on the network on a Sunday midafternoon in late February/early March, which would otherwise clash with a 4pm Premier League kick-off on that day.
Richard Keys had hosted the programme from one of the grounds alongside Jamie Redknapp and at least one more guest. The panel often introduce the first game with an empty stadium behind them because of the staggered kick-off times. This was until 27 January 2011 when Keys resigned from Sky Sports following allegations of sexist remarks and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace.
Martin Tyler and Andy Gray have been the most regular commentators on Super Sunday, appearing either as a team or split over two matches. When there were two matches, Gray would commentate on the main match and act as a studio pundit for the other game as well as appearing on The Last Word discussion programme alongside Keys immediately after Super Sunday on Sky Sports 1.
However, following sexist comments towards assistant referee Sian Massey in a conversation prior to a match between Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. and Liverpool on Saturday, 22 January, Gray was sacked by Sky and soon after Richard Keys handed in his resignation. Keys said:
Keys has been permanently replaced by Ed Chamberlin for the 2011/12 season, after Sky were impressed by his presenting on the Survival Sunday coverage at the end of the 2010/11 season. The Last Word discussion programme has been dropped since Keys and Gray's departures.
Along with Tyler, Rob Hawthorne, Bill Leslie and Alan Parry are also regularly used as commentators, while Gary Neville is now usually the main co-commentator. Other co-commentators used are Niall Quinn, Alan Smith, Andy Hinchcliffe and Davie Provan.
Although Sky lost its monopoly on broadcasting the Premier League from 2007–08, with Setanta Sports winning 46 games as a result of a European Commission recommendation, Sky retained the rights to all 4pm kick-offs as part of their renewed £1.4 billion contract. The former Setanta rights were passed on to ESPN from the 2009–10 season, typically showing Saturday evening games.
From the 2010–11 to the 2012–13 seasons, Sky had the vast majority of live Sunday Premier League fixtures, in addition to Saturday lunchtime kick-offs, Monday night games and exclusive rights to midweek fixtures. ESPN could show 23 live matches for each season of which 18 must be shown on a Saturday evening.
From the 2013–14 to the 2015–16 seasons, Sky have the rights to broadcast 116 matches each season, which are broadcast on Sundays, Saturday evenings and Monday nights. BT Sport broadcast 38 matches each season, the majority of which are on Saturday lunchtime, midweek and bank holidays.
From 2016 Sky will show 126 live matches. Fridays at 7.45/8.00pm, Saturdays at 12.30pm, Sundays at 1.30pm and 4pm and Mondays at 8pm, as well as any and all bank holiday fixtures. Sky Sports Friday night and Monday Night Football programmes will be sponsored by bet365, with Nissan sponsoring the Saturday and Sunday broadcasts.