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BT adds raft of content to sports channels

BT Retail's Gavin PattersonBT has signed a string of new sports content deals, giving it rights to women’s football, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bouts, action sports and MotoGP motorcycle racing. 

The UK telco announced the partnerships at a launch event at BT Sport’s new facilities at the Olympic Park in Stratford, London, with the content due to be shown across BT’s three forthcoming sports networks – BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN.

BT has taken women’s football rights from 2014 to 2018 and will show FA Women’s Super League, the England Women’s Senior Team and The FA Woman’s Cup. The three-year UFC deal covers UK and Ireland television rights for all of UFC’s live and taped programming, amounting to up to 400 hours of content.

Action sports and lifestyle content comes from a deal with Red Bull Media House, which will provide more than 100 hours of programming, including sport magazine series and feature films such as snowboard movie The Art of Flight.

Finally, BT has signed a five-year deal with Dorna Sports for exclusive UK and Irish broadcast rights to the FIM MotoGP World Championships, starting from the 2014 season.

“Content-wise there’s a huge array of content to share with you this morning. Sometimes people say ‘is this any different from ESPN or Setanta?’ Absolutely it is,” said BT Retail chief executive Gavin Patterson (pictured).

The new content adds to BT’s previously announced sport content deals, which include rights to 38 Premier League football matches and 69 Aviva Premiership rugby matches.

Talking about BT’s overall sports offering, Patterson added: “Undoubtedly it will add extra pep to our TV business. But we have seen steady, consistent growth of our TV business quarter after quarter for a number of years. It’s not as big as we think it could be and I think sport will be another reason why people take it, but it’s not just sport. We are launching a range of broadcast channels as well.”