BT announced today that it’s negotiating with Discovery, inc, on a plan to create a combined new TV sports platform that will bring together BT Sport’s content with that of Eurosport and Discovery+.
If and when it arrives, the new service will be a 50/50 joint venture that will give BT Sport customers access to content from Discovery+ and Eurosport, while Discovery+ customers will get access to BT Sport.
This means BT Sport staples such as Premier League, UEFA Champions League and MotoGP will live alongside Discovery’s Olympics rights, the Australian Open, cycling, boxing and more.
Furthermore, BT announced today a new long term deal with Sky, which will see BT TV customers continuing to get access to Sky and NOW’s services, until 2030 and beyond. On the other side, Sky customers will continue to have access (by subscribing) to BT Sport.
BT Sport Looking For A New Deal
BT Sport, available in the UK and Ireland, broadcasts sporting events from the UK and around the world. For years, BT Sport was only available as an add-on to traditional pay-TV subscriptions like Sky, or BT’s own BT Broadband customers.
There’s been a lot of talk in the past several months about BT possibly selling its BT Sport business, with two names mentioned as possible buyers: Dazn and Discovery (with ITV also being mentioned as a potential buyer at some point).
Dazn was considered a frontrunner as recently as yesterday, when several news outlets claimed that a deal between Dazn and BT Sport was imminent.
Dazn is a streaming-only sports platform (learn more here) that’s available in several countries, including the UK. It streams various sporting events, with a heavy focus on boxing.
Today, however, BT announced that it has entered exclusive discussions with Discovery, Inc. “on a deal to create a new sport and entertainment offering for customers in the UK.”
According to the announcement, BT Group aims to conclude the discussions in early Q1 for the new company to be operational later this year.
Discovery owns the Eurosport brand, which includes linear channels on pay-TV platforms (such as Sky) in the UK.
Eurosport also used to have a standalone streaming service, Eurosport Player – but as we reported before, Eurosport Player is being phased out in favour of Discovery+, with the sports broadcasts becoming a part of the Discovery+ Sports plan.
Discovery+ is a streaming service that launched in 2020, replacing Discovery’s Dplay service (which was totally free), with a combined offering of both free and “premium” channels.
BT Sport + Discovery: A Major Sports Streaming Service?
If the negotiations are successful (and remember, that’s still a big IF, as we’ve seen with the Dazn deal), the new proposed service will be a significant new force in the streaming sports arena.
According to BT, “The new combined business would remain committed to retaining BT Sport’s existing major sports broadcast rights while BT Sport customers would get access to Discovery’s sport and entertainment content, including the Discovery+ app.”
Currently, the free tier on Discovery+ includes several Freeview channels, such as Quest, Really, HGTV and others, while the paid tiers add additional live premium channels, along with their on-demand content – Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and more.
Furthermore, the paid tier has TWO separate plans: Entertainment (£4.99/month) and Entertainment + Sports (£6.99/month) – which now also includes the content that used to reside on Eurosport Player.
The cost of BT Sport depends mainly on who you’re getting it from – as part of your broadband deal, via Sky – or the standalone BT Sport Monthly Pass, which costs £25/month.
Therefore, if a new combined service is launched this year, it will possibly be a part of the Discovery+ Entertainment + Sport plan, but it’s hard to believe you will get all of BT Sport, with its Premier League matches, for the same £6.99/month – though it is still a possibility.
Looking longer into the future, the two entities might decide to combine everything into a single streaming sports service with under one name – but that’s still a speculation at this point.
Marc Allera, CEO BT Consumer, said today:
“The proposed joint venture with Discovery, Inc. would create an exciting new sports broadcasting entity for the UK and would act as a perfect home for our BT Sport business.
“With a shared ambition for growth, as well as the combination of our world class sports assets along with Discovery’s premium sports and entertainment content, our customers will benefit from even more content in more places.”