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BT could kick sport into touch

by LLB Editor
29th Apr 21 10:29 am

Maybe BT doesn’t think the breakaway European Super League is as dead as it appears to be given the company has confirmed speculation it is considering a sale of its BT Sport arm.

While it shows Premier League games, the sports broadcaster’s crown jewels are its exclusive rights to the existing UEFA-backed competitions including the Champions League – a product which would be massively devalued if the top clubs followed through on a threat to forge out on their own.

“In reality it seems BT will only be opting for a partial sale of the division, with Amazon and Disney as well as a British broadcaster believed to be in the frame,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.

“Bidding for sports rights is an expensive and unpredictable business – securing them can be a big pull for subscribers and advertisers but it involves a big outlay and there is always a risk a rival could gazump you at the last moment – a trick BT itself has pulled in the past.

“Plus at the moment the world of sports and sports rights is in a flux thanks to the pandemic – it’s a very different world from the one in which BT launched as a challenger to Sky nearly a decade ago.

“By selling a bit of the business, and reducing the amount it spends on sport, BT could generate funds to help meet the massive bill it faces for investing in broadband infrastructure.

“After all, most customers would take a more reliable internet service over slightly cheaper access to watching the footy.”

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