Saturday saw the first event of real note on the new TNT Sports service: Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, and the early signs are encouraging.

TNT’s parent is Warner Brothers Discovery and the entertainment giant has kept the BT Sport rights, and much of the on-air team. Saturday’s coverage was fronted by Jules Breach and Lynsey Hipgrave in an effective split-striker set-up: Hipgrave pitchside with Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole, Breach given a roving role inside the tunnel and around the stadium. This turned out to be handy, with a story to cover about the ticketing cock-up. In an ideal world you’d want an Arsenal official interviewed on camera, but Breach and co handled this well, giving the viewer all the information needed and in a timely fashion.

It meant Hipgrave et al had more than enough space to talk pre-match, generally predictable early-season chat and speculation with the only standout moment being Ferdinand’s bold foray into the Saudi Arabia question. “There is always negative media reporting. We could go round every country in the world and find problems… nobody questioned when David Beckham went to America,” said Peckham’s answer to Edward Said, the Gormless Vidal of SE15. It very much had the ring of a come-and-get-me plea for our new friends in Riyadh, about whom Rio did concede “I’m sure they’d hold their hands up and say there are things we should improve”, as if this were about incompetent marking at a corner and not human rights violations.

A welcome end to the geopolitics came with the presence of new signing Ally McCoist, who is as close to a universally liked football sort that we’ll ever get in these divided times. He was in fine early season form, declaring himself a devotee of Serge Aurier’s preferred musical genre of Afrobeat, communicating his enthusiasm about the match and having fun with commentator Darren Fletcher about the Scottish village of Kirriemuir, which claims Forest centre-half Scott McKenna, JM Barrie and AC/DC’s Bon Scott for its own.

The segments of Breach in the tunnel picking up tidbits, such as which players were warming up early during half time, gave enjoyable behind-the-scenes vibes. Having twin hosts rather than one main star presenter mitigated against a feeling that had crept in at the end of the BT era, ie. that this was primarily an ego-buffing jolly which happened to have some football attached.

And for the customer? Some will feel irritated this is yet another service to sign up for if you want the privilege of watching our national sport on TV. TNT is available via the Discovery+ platform for a hefty £29.99 per month; this also includes Eurosport as well as a variety of channels like Quest, TLC and Discovery that are unlikely to be relevant to sports fans. The non-sports programmes on Saturday looked like absolute garbage, televisual landfill with titles like The Bad Skin Clinic, Helicopter ER and Curvy Brides Boutique. Alan Partridge’s Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank may yet find its spiritual home.

If you have Sky you can add TNT for 25 quid but, again, this is nobody’s idea of a bargain. The sport offering is very similar to what BT Sport had: Premier League, Champions League and the other Uefa comps, plus Premiership and Heineken Cup Rugby, a decent spread of WWE, UFC and boxing, plus second-rate cricket and petrolhead stuff.

The Discovery+ app experience was good, for this viewer at least. It’s got a snazzy timeline scroll bar at the bottom where you can jump back to goals and key incidents. It worked well for me and didn’t freeze, although there were moments when the sound distorted. On that note, there seemed to be the occasional audio issue during the broadcast from the Emirates; Higprave handed over to Fletcher and we could not hear the commentator’s remarks for ten seconds or more. Some cruel wags on the internet wondered if this might be offered as a permanent option. Unfairly, in my opinion: Fletcher paired nicely with McCoist and they have a good rapport. Overall, a promising opening, albeit rather overpriced.