200 BT Sport employees face redundancy in WBD-led restructure

With Warner Bros. Discovery and UK telco BT both having embarked on extensive rounds of cutbacks, reports this week suggest that more than 200 employees at BT Sport are now under imminent risk of redundancy, following the creation of a merged sports operation combining the two companies’ respective UK-based assets.

John Ferrett

UK union Prospect issued a statement in which it said: “Prospect is deeply concerned that Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is proposing to put all BT Sport employees at risk of redundancy. More than 200 BT Sport staff were yesterday placed at risk of redundancy, just two and a half months after they were transferred to WBD as part of the joint venture company agreed between BT Group and WBD last year.”

Prospect national secretary John Ferrett said: “Hardworking staff who were transferred only last November in roles they were told were secure are now facing an uncertain future. This is an incredibly unsettling time for our members at BT Sport and we will be doing everything we can to support them. Members who are due to transfer from BT to Warner Bros Discovery in future phases of the joint venture will also rightly be concerned about their future careers with the business.”

The deal to create the new BT Sport/WBD JV completed in September, since when both companies have entered into aggressive periods of cost cutting. At the time of the deal, 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.”

Ferrett said: “We are fully engaging with Warner Bros Discovery to understand what has led to this about face and why not one single job currently in BT Sport is due to remain under the organisation’s stated restructure.”

A Warner Bros. Discovery spokesperson said: “A consultation with representatives of BT Sport employees is underway. This results from the expiry of BT Sport’s lease in Stratford and move to Warner Bros. Discovery’s (WBD) existing facilities, as well as a proposed reorganisation of the business. Finding operating efficiencies was envisioned by the BT and WBD JV and is critical to maintaining our competitiveness in a fast evolving and competitive environment. BT Sport employees have priority for the new roles that have been identified within WBD’s sports organisation and broader business. Given the consultation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

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