BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery have confirmed that they will form a 50:50 joint venture company to create a new premium sport offering for the UK & Ireland.
The deal also sees the transfer of the operating businesses of BT Sport to Warner Bros. Discovery.
BT Sport and Eurosport UK will bring together 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.
Customers who access BT Sport through BT directly, and the majority of BT TV customers, are set to receive discovery+, home to Eurosport’s live and on-demand streaming offer in the UK & Ireland, as part of existing subscriptions.
Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will initially retain their separate brands before being brought together under a single brand in the future. BT Group (through its wholly owned subsidiary British Telecommunications plc (“BT plc”)) and Warner Bros. Discovery will enter into distribution agreements with the JV under which they will distribute the combined sports content to new and existing customers on their respective platforms and apps.
The JV will be owned 50:50 by BT plc and Warner Bros. Discovery. BT plc will receive £93m from Warner Bros. Discovery and up to approximately £540m by way of an earn-out from the JV, subject to certain conditions being met.
Subject to closing conditions, including approvals by the relevant regulatory bodies, the deal is expected to complete by the end of 2022.
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.”
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