ITV Plans To Bid For Premier League Production Contract
ITV "has denied it is interested in airing any of BT's Premier League matches," but admitted that it is planning to pitch for the £100M ($158.7M)-plus contract to produce the telecoms company's live football coverage, according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. BT, which owns the BT Vision subscription video-on-demand service, will formally put out a three-year tender, valued between £100M and £132M ($209.4M), for the contract to produce its football coverage. BT has also "opened early stage talks with ITV about a potential partnership." ITV intends to pitch for the business. Production subsidiary ITV Studios already makes the English-language commentary for al-Jazeera's Sports, fronted by Gary Lineker, Ruud Gullit, Alan Shearer and Terry Venables, for expats throughout the Middle East. An "idea was floated that one, or potentially two maximum, lesser EPL games might be shown on ITV." However, a spokesperson for ITV made clear that the tentative idea was not something in which "the broadcaster was interested." The ITV spokesperson said, "We are not talking to BT about taking any of their Premier League matches for broadcast on ITV channels. If BT were looking for a production company to produce their Premier League coverage, that is something that we would of course look at, as we do with other potential contracts" (GUARDIAN, 8/22).