Warner Bros. Discovery and BT complete Eurosport-BT Sport joint-venture deal

Warner Bros. Discovery and BT Group have completed the merger of BT Sport and Eurosport into a combined 50:50 joint venture.

The deal, announced in May following the reveal of exclusive talks in February, will create a significant player in UK sports broadcasting with an extensive portfolio of premium sports rights including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the 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.

The combined company’s board is equally split between BT and WBD, with BT consumer CEO Marc Allera serving as the first chairperson.

In a press release, the companies said that BT Sport and Eurosport will “retain their separate product propositions for a period of time”, with the intention to “launch a new sports brand in the market and present this combined sports offering together with an entertainment offering from Warner Bros. Discovery.”

While Discovery launched its sports-housing discovery+ streamer into the UK market prior to its merger with WarnerMedia, HBO Max has not launched in the country and the company has halted its rollout as it looks to launch a combined streaming service in mid-2023. This statement provides a hint that whatever that new service is, it will launch in the UK complete with this new JV’s rights portfolio. 

Marc Allera, chairman of the JV and CEO BT’s Consumer division said: “As we enter our ninth season, today is day one of an exciting new chapter for BT Sport.  I am extremely proud of the teams and the established brand and broadcaster that BT Sport has become, and I look forward to working with Warner Bros. Discovery to create an exciting new sport TV offering for the UK.” 

Andrew Georgiou, board member of the JV and president and managing director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said: “Today marks the start of our journey to build a new sports destination for fans in the U.K and Ireland. Combining BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. together with Warner Bros. Discovery’s world-class and growing entertainment offering will result in an exciting new proposition for consumers. 

“It’s important for fans to know they can continue to enjoy BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. as they do today and we’ll keep them updated on future plans as soon as we can. We are pleased the transaction has closed and we can now further engage all stakeholders in the process of establishing the JV and developing its extensive combined sports offer.”

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