BT has acquired sports broadcaster ESPN’s TV channels in the UK and Ireland from Disney, in a deal which is expected to go through in the summer. The deal will see BT take-over sports rights packages from ESPN which include matches from the Scottish Premier League (SPL), the FA Cup, Uefa Europa League and German Bundesliga.
Now BT Sport will take-over the screening of the games that ESPN agreed with the SPL last year. The five year deal, signed in August, gave ESPN rights to screen 30 matches and 10 Rangers games – now BT Sport will show them. BT have also acquired the right to broadcast live sport from American including American football and Nascar motor racing. However BT will have someway to go to match BSkyB’s success – they currently have more than 10 million subscribers while BT Vision only around 700,000 customers.
ESPN and Sky currently share the broadcasting rights to SPL games, with each broadcaster having agreed to show 30 matches per season over the next three seasons. Under the agreement, the two broadcasters are also showing 15 Rangers games a season.