BT Sport and Eurosport will be brought together under common ownership by the end of 2022, as BT shares further information about the joint venture.
The new joint venture will bring together all of BT’s and Eurosport’s current UK and Ireland sports rights. This includes the UEFA Champions League, Olympic Games, Australian Open tennis and the Tour de France.
Initially, BT Sport and Eurosport will remain separate brands. But during the coming years, the services will unite under a single brand.
The combined sports content of BT Sport and Eurosport will be made available to new and existing customers on BT and Warner Bros Discovery’s respective platforms and apps.
The joint venture will also enter into a new agreement with Sky. This will run beyond 2030 to extend the availability of BT Sport / Eurosport content on the platform.
As part of the deal, Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) will have the right to buy out BT’s stake in the joint venture during the first four years of the joint venture. This signals BT’s desire to completely offload the sports business in the medium to long-term. Meanwhile, the production and operational assets of BT Sport will already transfer to and become a wholly owned subsidiary of WBD by the end of the year.
What this means for BT customers
Aidan Smith, RXTV
The deal between the two companies means customers who subscribe to BT Sport directly through BT and those who take BT TV will be offered access to discovery+.
For BT TV users, discovery+ is one of the main apps still absent on BT YouView TV receivers.
Discovery+ is the new home of Eurosport’s streaming service, alongside Discovery’s factual entertainment library. However, that is likely to change again in the coming years. WBD is expected to replace discovery+ with a new global streaming service that combines all of its existing standalone services.
In any case, the deal between BT and WBD will mean the new combined streaming home of BT Sport-Eurosport (or whatever the final brand name is) continues to be available to BT customers for the next decade.
…or perhaps that should say “EE customers” going forward. Last month, it was revealed that BT would make EE its main consumer facing brand for all except those who take standalone landline or broadband products.
Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer division commented:
“As a global sports and entertainment broadcaster Warner Bros. Discovery is the perfect partner to work with us to take BT Sport to the next stage of its growth. We’re excited to be joining forces to bring the best of BT Sport together with Eurosport UK to create a fantastic new sports offer alongside all the entertainment that discovery+ has to offer BT customers.”
Andrew Georgiou, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe added:
“We are excited to bring fans a new premium sport offering that brings together everything they love from BT Sport and Eurosport UK. Combining this with our growing portfolio of premium entertainment content promises to deliver consumers a richer and deeper content proposition, not only providing greater value from their subscriptions but bringing sport to a wider entertainment audience.”
Wasn’t this already announced?
Iain Hatton, RXTV
Outline details of the tie-up were first unveiled at the beginning of the year. But the terms of the joint venture had to be agreed by rights holders and distribution partners before being signed-off.
Since the deal was first announced, Discovery has merged with Warner Bros. And BT has announced it’s spinning off most of its consumer business to EE. Of interest is the clause in the joint venture that gives WBD ample opportunity to buy BT’s stake in the joint venture.
So why not just sell BT Sport to WBD right now and dispense of a possibly temporary joint venture? Again, the current arrangement suitably pacifies current sports rights holders.
The one thing not announced? How much the combined sports channel offer will actually cost. Further details are to be confirmed closer to the launch of the joint venture.