BT and US media company Warner Bros Discovery have agreed a deal to create a joint venture pay-TV sport business, which will include the rights to sports including the Premier League, the Champions League and the Olympics.
The news is confirmation of a deal that has been in the pipeline for many months. BT entered into exclusive talks with the US firm to merge BT Sport with the Discovery-owned Eurosport in February. The agreement is worth as much as £633m to the telecoms operator.
The structure of the 50:50 joint venture agreement, which will see the company operated by Warner Bros Discovery, will see BT receive a £93m payment in instalments over three years after completion of the deal. BT will also receive up to £540m based on performance of the operation over a period of four years. This could pay out sooner if either the £540m performance cap is hit, or Warner Bros Discovery trigger a call option to take full control.
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.
Eurosport currently broadcasts a wide range of sports including tennis and cycling and holds the pan-European rights to the Olympics in the UK and Ireland.
Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer division, said, “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.
"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.”
“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.”
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."
The new platform will include UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the English Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams featuring the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, cycling Grand Tours including the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia and the winter sports World Cup season.