BT bolsters sports channel with international football rights

UK telco BT has signed football rights deals with Italian, French, Brazilian and US leagues as it looks to ramp up its sports offering ahead of the launch of its BT Sport channel.

The telco will air live matches from Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in France, Brasileiro in Brazil and the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the USA from 2013. Sports broadcaster ESPN had previously held the rights.

BT is making a foray into sports, spearheaded by the English Premier League, which it won some media rights to earlier this year in a deal worth £246 million (€303 million) per season for 38 matches. It will launch a dedicated sports channel, BT Sport, by the summer of 2013.

BT has also revealed that BoxNation founder and ex-Sky Sports veteran Simon Green will head up BT Sport. The company has also hired match director Grant Best from Sky.

Marc Watson, BT’s CEO of TV said, “We are delighted to announce that we will be adding to the Barclays Premier League live games with more top quality live coverage of games from some of the top leagues in the world. As well as enjoying 38 games from the Barclays Premier League, football fans will be able to follow David Beckham and Thierry Henry in the MLS and witness whether the resurgent Juventus can withstand the challenge of the two Milan giants in Serie A. They’ll also be able to enjoy the talent on show in the French Ligue 1, where they will see the skills of stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.”

Tags: BT, UK