Broadcasting of live sport in the UK is facing the biggest shock in years after BT and Discovery announced plans for a UK merger of BT Sport and Eurosport.
But what does that mean for coverage of some of the world’s biggest sporting events?
What was announced?
BT and Eurosport owners Discovery confirmed they have been in exclusive talks to launch a new sports company in the UK and Ireland. They said they aim to have the 50/50 joint venture operational later this year pending a final agreement and regulatory approval. Telegraph Sport announced in April that less than a decade after launching a major attack on sports broadcasting, BT was in talks over a partial sale of BT Sport. Since then, talks have been held with competing companies, including a direct sale to the streaming company DAZN. But Discovery prevailed.
What does that mean?
Assuming it comes to what is probably the biggest merger of two British sports channels of all time. This would give BT Sport customers access to Eurosport content and vice versa, and could give it more leeway when it comes to keeping the rights it owns and competing for those it doesn’t. Inevitably, much of the focus would be on whether it would follow more Premier League football, but with a new three-year deal for those signed just last year, it will have to wait at least two years before making a bid.
Which sports are included?
Together, BT Sport and Eurosport hold an impressive portfolio covering live – and in many cases exclusive – UK rights to the Olympics, Premier League, Champions League and other Uefa club competitions, tennis grand slams, Premiership rugby, overseas -Cricket and cycle racing includes touring, MotoGP, boxing, winter sports and UFC.
Does this affect coverage of the Premier League and Champions League?
It would be a surprise if that were the case in the short term. It would be much cheaper to keep these properties under the BT Sport brand and cover them with existing staff. In the longer term, Eurosport may wish to feature such premium content on its own channels, especially given that the joint venture may one day come to an end and it may only wish to enter the Premier League and Champions League games market.
How much will it cost?
A monthly subscription to BT Sport is currently £15, while a monthly subscription to Eurosport is £6.99 (various deals available). If the plan is for all customers of one to have ‘free’ access to the other’s content, then surely these prices need to be harmonized and there is a possibility that the combined number will be even larger. It’s unclear if customers can opt-out of content they don’t want to see and potentially pay less as a result.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2022/02/03/bt-sports-joint-venture-eurosport-means-sport-subscriptions/ What BT Sport’s joint-venture with Eurosport means for your sport subscriptions