Sky, BT Say They Want Deal On Sports Rights, But 'No Progress' Made
Responding to Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch's comments Tuesday that the company was open to a deal with BT, a BT spokesperson has said that the company remains open to a deal, according to Alex Spence of the LONDON TIMES. Darroch said that Sky "was open to a deal that would result in the companies carrying each other’s sports programming." Responding to his comments, however, BT "blamed Sky for the stand-off." A BT spokesperson said, "We have always said we will wholesale BT Sport where it makes commercial sense for both parties. BT has always been open to reaching a commercial deal with Sky, but they have resisted this to date" (LONDON TIMES, 11/20). In London, Henry Mance reported the two companies "are locked in a battle for broadband subscribers, with access to sports coverage seen as a key advantage." A person with knowledge of the situation said that they "have made no progress on a wholesale deal in recent months." In the meantime, customers "have to pay separate bills to access Sky and BT sports channels." BT "has agreed a wholesale deal with Virgin Media, which is viewed as a smaller threat to its business." Darroch "also launched a sideswipe at YouView," the set-top platform in which BT and others are investing £115M ($186M), calling it “a big pluggy box” that looks “a little dated.” BT "is looking to offer YouView to customers of its low-cost Plusnet broadband service, in order to compete with TalkTalk, the Internet provider which has gained the most customers in recent months" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/20).