BT Sport Looks To Add FA Cup Matches To Premier League Coverage
The coverage of next season’s FA Cup is "likely to be the most contentious issue" in the sale of ESPN’s U.K. operation to BT Sport, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. The FA’s agreement with the Disney-owned company "stipulates that the competition must be covered on their network." But although BT will have an ESPN channel, "showing a lot of American sport," as part of its three-station package, it wants the FA Cup on its flagship channel along with its 38 Premier League games. The ESPN sale signals the "demise of their flawed" U.K. strategy. The critical mistake was "getting into bed" with its main rivals Sky rather than taking them on head to head for subscribers. ESPN’s deal with the satellite giants, which saw its sports output being shown on the Sky platform, "meant the Murdoch operation always had the controlling hand" (DAILY MAIL, 2/25).
A LET UP FOR SCOTS: The Scotland DAILY RECORD wrote Scottish football has been "handed a boost" as BT takes over from ESPN and signs new deal to broadcast Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League matches until '17. BT made its first foray into Scottish football by agreeing a £12M ($18.2M) deal to buy ESPN’s U.K. and Ireland TV channels. SPL CEO Neil Doncaster has "welcomed the proposal and reckons it will provide some much needed financial security for our national game." Doncaster: "It means top-flight football will continue to be broadcast by Sky Sports and now BT, providing a solid financial bedrock and the best possible platform to promote the game in Scotland" (DAILY RECORD, 2/26).