BT and Sky reach a very sporting TV deal

15 Dec 2017

Image: Krivosheev Vitaly/Shutterstock

New deal will help BT aggregate more content and de-risk its sports strategy.

Sky and BT have agreed a TV deal that will enable them to sell their channels on their respective platforms.

The move ends a frosty relationship between the companies.

Under the deal, BT will wholesale its BT Sport channels to Sky, which will then sell them directly to satellite customers.

Essentially, BT’s live UEFA Champions League and Premier League football will be live on Sky.

The multi-year deal will also enable BT to market and sell Sky’s Now TV service to BT TV customers, including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and the Sky Atlantic channel.

The agreement brings to a successful conclusion negotiations that have been on and off for a number of years.

Logical next step

It is expected that these new services will be available to customers from early 2019.

“This is an important day for BT and for our customers, who will be able to enjoy a whole range of Sky’s sport and entertainment programming on their BT TV boxes,” said Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT.

“This is the next logical step for our TV and content strategy. Having built up an outstanding portfolio of exclusive sports rights and a loyal base of customers, we feel that now is the right time to broaden the ways in which we distribute BT Sport.

“This agreement fits with our strategic goal of being the best provider in the UK of converged network services, and adding Now TV boosts our growing roster of outstanding content from the likes of Netflix, great pay channels like AMC, and all the major catch-up services.”

Currently, BT TV customers can only buy Sky Sports Main Event as a bolt-on to their TV service for £27.50 per month, and are not able to choose from the full range of Sky Sports channels.

As a result of this agreement, BT TV customers will be able to take all 11 Sky Sports channels as well as a Now TV Entertainment pass, offering channels including Sky Living, Sky One and Sky Atlantic. This includes popular box sets such as Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies and Billions.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years