BT heads for pay-TV market with football package

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015

Football fans will need to pay at least an extra £5 a month to watch the Galacticos of the Champions League after BT unveiled its first move into the traditional pay-TV market to challenge the stronghold by Sky on the wallets of football fans.

The full pack of BT sports channels - which will include a new European channel and a ultra definition channel - will cost £5 a month for BT broadband customers, reports Dan Thomas, telecoms correspondent.

However, BT also revealed that all four BT channels will be free for BT TV customers in what will be a major push to grow its TV customer base at the expense of Sky. BT TV costs £5 or £10 a month, however, including a set top box and depending on the package.

Delia Bushell, BT's head of TV and sports, said that the new European channels were as a big a moment for BT as when it first launched its sports TV service three years ago. "It adds up to a major new chapter for BT Sport," she said. "For the first time, Europa and Champions League will be brought together. We intend to make the most of it. It will be more spectacular and talked about than ever before."

BT's champion's league coverage will be fronted by a new panel of pundits of former footballers Rio Ferdinand, Gary Lineker, Glenn Hoddle and Steven Gerrard (pictured below).

BT will charge broadband customers to watch its European football matches, which were previously shown on Sky and ITV, shifting its strategy away from defending its broadband business with free bundled sports TV to generating new revenues from its services.

The move will be a test of BT's ambitions in the pay-TV market, where it has failed to grow its TV customer base significantly even after the first, high profile acquisition of Premier League football rights three years ago.

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