Sky CEO Says Company Keen To Sign Wholesale Football Rights Deal With BT Sport
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch "has sought to allay investors' nervousness about the battle with BT, saying that the pay TV provider could still grow by raising prices for consumers in spite of losing crucial football rights," according to Henry Mance of the FINANCIAL TIMES. In his first public comments since the company lost Champions League rights to its rival's £897M ($1.4B) bid, Darroch said that "it could sign a wholesale deal with BT to ensure its customers had access to the full range of live sports." Responding to investor fears about whether Sky can compensate for the loss of some its best sporting rights, Darroch "highlighted investments in Sky Atlantic and movies." Darroch: "The journey at Sky since day one has been to broaden out and do new things. While the sports is very, very important to Sky, it's just one of the things that we do" (FT, 11/20). BLOOMBERG's Schweizer & Thomson wrote Sky "is open to a wholesale deal with BT." Darroch said, "It's a two-way thing and if we can get there with BT we're open to that; we're keen to do that but we'll have to see. Sky Sports is in great shape; we're clear on our priorities." Sky has aired top U.K. football games since the Premier League's inception in '92. Darroch said that the Champions League accounts for less than 3% of viewing on Sky Sports, "and he emphasized the channels' airing of cricket, tennis and golf tournaments" as well as F1 and other football matches (BLOOMBERG, 11/20).