BT Strikes Deal For 'Hundreds' Of Live Football Matches Around The World
Telecom company BT has "bolstered its plan to become a heavyweight sports broadcaster," with a number of deals to show live matches from top-tier int'l football leagues, according to Katherine Rushton of the London TELEGRAPH. The company, which shocked rivals in June with a £738M ($1.2B) gamble on the EPL, has struck deals for "hundreds" of live matches from Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Brasileiro. It has also secured live rights to Major League Soccer games in the U.S. BT will use the matches to help "beef up a new sports channel that will be launched next summer." In addition to the Premier League deal, BT has also signed a £152M ($244.7M) deal to show Premiership Rugby. The move will put new pressure on rival BSkyB, which has "built its empire on top-tier football rights and was caught off-guard by BT’s entry into the market." BSkyB now faces the prospect that BT will use its new TV service to "win over BSkyB customers." BT "is still in talks with production firms," including ITV Studios, IMG Media and Tinopolis, over which company will produce the sports channel (TELEGRAPH, 10/27).