BT Sport and Eurosport UK are just weeks away from coming together under one roof after the tie-up was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Both companies welcomed Friday morning’s announcement from the CMA giving them the green light to proceed. The new joint venture will officially start trading in the coming weeks.
Initially, little will change for viewers. Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will retain their existing brands, streaming services and subscription packages.
But the joint venture plans to bring all the channels together under a single brand. At that point, the new joint venture will bring together all channels on one streaming platform. It will be possible for viewers to access a subscription bundle that includes all channels.
The BT – Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) joint venture will initially consist of a 50:50 split between the two companies. But the terms of the agreement reached earlier this year provides an exit clause for BT. WBD will have the right to exercise the option to buy out BT’s share at various points through the next five years.
Next step in BT’s “break up”
It’s part of a major plan to break up BT’s current structure. With BT Sport now being spun off, the company is slowly departing from its TV ambitions. Next up is a change for domestic customers: most will be spun off to its consumer subsidiary EE. However, individuals on standalone service packages look set to remain with BT. BT will refocus on its business & enterprise, government and infrastructure activities.
The first Chairperson to be appointed, nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis, will be Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer division. But the new management and delivery of the joint venture will be led by Andrew Georgiou, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, who will be a member of its board.
Marc Allera, future Chairman of the JV and CEO BT’s Consumer division said
“It’s great news that the CMA has approved the new JV that we are forming with Warner Bros. Discovery, combining the very best of BT Sport and Eurosport UK, to create an exciting new offer for live sport programming in the UK. Today is a huge milestone, as we now look toward day one of the new business, which we hope to be in the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Georgiou, future board member of the JV and President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said
“Combining the capabilities, portfolios and scale of BT Sport and Eurosport UK will be a big win for fans in the UK & Ireland, offering a new destination that will feature all the sport they love in one place. We now look forward to closing the transaction and having the opportunity to further engage all stakeholders in the process of forming and developing the JV.”
Aidan Smith, editor, RXTV