BT and Warner Bros. Discovery finalise UK and Ireland sports venture

BT and Warner Bros. Discovery have introduced a 50-50 joint premium sports venture in the UK and Ireland.

The collaboration sees BT Sport transferred to Warner Bros. Discovery, meaning that the BT Sport network and Eurosport UK are operated together. 

Additionally, BT will gain £93 million from Warner Bros. Discovery and up to around GBP540 million by way of an earn-out from the JV.

Andrew Georgiou, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said: “We are excited to bring fans a new premium sport offering that brings together everything they love from BT Sport and Eurosport UK. 

“Combining this with our growing portfolio of premium entertainment content promises to deliver consumers a richer and deeper content proposition, not only providing greater value from their subscriptions but bringing sport to a wider entertainment audience.”

BT Group initially entered discussions with Discovery in February of this year, having earlier disclosed plans to sell its UK sports media holdings. In doing so the multimedia group closed out DAZN, which had also been interested in a potential buyout. 

By combining BT Sport and Eurosport UK, the new portfolio will include rights to the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, UFC, Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams and the winter sports World Cup season.

Furthermore, BT will retain a 50% interest in the JV, and Warner Bros. Discovery will be granted a Call Option over BT plc’s interest in the JV, exercisable at specified points in the first four years of the JV.

“As a global sports and entertainment broadcaster Warner Bros. Discovery is the perfect partner to work with us to take BT Sport to the next stage of its growth,” added Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer division.

“We’re excited to be joining forces to bring the best of BT Sport together with Eurosport UK to create a fantastic new sports offer alongside all the entertainment that discovery+ has to offer BT customers.

Customers who access BT Sport through BT directly, and the majority of BT TV customers, are set to receive discovery+ home to Eurosport’s live and on-demand streaming offer in the UK & Ireland, as part of existing subscriptions.

Allera continued: “I’m incredibly proud of the established, creative and innovative broadcaster that BT Sport has become. We have a brilliant team who are dedicated to broadcasting amazing sporting moments and we look forward to working with Eurosport UK to realise the opportunities that this next stage will bring both our team and our viewers.”

Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will initially retain their separate brands and product propositions in the market before being brought together under a single brand in the future.

The Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approvals by the relevant regulatory bodies and is expected to complete by the end of 2022.

 

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