BT, Virgin sign wholesale BT Sport deal
A new three-year deal announced today will ensure millions of Virgin Media TV customers can enjoy full access to the BT Sport TV channels. The agreement, which significantly boosts the number of homes that can watch BT Sport from this weekend, follows the news that more than a million UK households are already equipped to watch the channels.
The wholesale deal, which has been signed in advance of the start of the Barclays Premier League this weekend, will enable Virgin Media to offer BT Sport directly to its 3.8 million TV customers. It means BT Sport 1 and 2 are now available across all the major TV platforms in the UK including cable, satellite and DTT. The channels are also accessible via broadband.
The agreement will enable Virgin Media to provide BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN to their XL TV customers as part of their packages, without the need for those customers to take any action. This means around three million households are ready to watch BT Sport in advance of the top tier main English football and rugby seasons commencing.
The agreement also enables Virgin Media to offer the channels as a standalone premium service to TV customers who do not take the XL pack.
This is similar to BT’s offer to satellite TV customers who do not have BT broadband and who can pay £12 a month for the channels via satellite or £15 a month in HD. Those satellite TV customers typically can make major savings by switching their broadband to BT in order to get BT Sport for free.
Marc Watson, BT TV chief executive, says: “I am delighted we have signed a deal with Virgin Media that increases the audience for BT Sport to around three million homes overnight. BT is rewarding its loyal customers with free sport and it is great to see Virgin Media immediately making BT Sport available to so many of their customers.
“BT has made a large investment in BT Sport and this is an important commercial agreement for us that recognises the excellence of the channels. We are keen to make our services as widely available as possible and to do so via wholesale arrangements. We are doing this with Sport.”