BT Finds Loophole Around Sky Ad Restriction, Sponsors Two Scottish Rugby Sides
BT Sport "has found a way past Sky Sports' ban on screening its rival broadcaster's adverts" by signing a four-year shirt sponsorship deal with two of the teams Sky has signed up to televise, according to the PA. Scottish rugby sides Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby have agreed to a "substantial multi-million pound" contract that will mean both clubs will "sport BT's logo on their shirts." The Scottish sides compete in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup competitions. Sky "will screen Heineken Cup games from October this year and matches from the RaboDirect Pro12 from 2014" (PA, 7/29).
NO SPONSOR SCREENING: The SCOTSMAN reported the deal "follows an Ofcom ruling last month which rejected BT’s complaints over Sky’s refusal to promote its new rivals on its own channels." BT will launch three channels later this week, broadcasting live football from the Scottish Premiership, the Premier League and rugby from England’s Aviva Premiership and France’s Top 14. However, "it will not screen games involving the two sides it has just signed up to sponsor." BT TV Retail CEO Marc Watson claims "that could change in future." When asked if the deal with Edinburgh and Glasgow was a ploy to get around Sky’s ban, he said, "When you are looking at a sponsorship arrangement, one of the things you look at is who is going to see your logo, your brand. The audience that follows Scottish rugby is an important audience for us to reach." Scottish Rugby Union CEO Mark Dodson "hinted the deal would see extra money be made available to strengthen both squads." Dodson said, "This is the most lucrative shirt sponsorship deal we have ever signed -- by some margin. It dwarfs any deal we have signed in the past" (SCOTSMAN, 7/29).
HARMONIOUS PARTNERSHIP: Video delivery firm Harmonic announced that BT Sport has built a production and playout system for its new sports channels using Harmonic video infrastructure (Harmonic).