BT has made plain its intention to become a major player in the sports rights market after signing up the rights to Aviva Premiership Rugby and the JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens from the start of the 2013-14 season.
The telco, anxious to boost the post-YouView appeal of its IPTV service, has already secured the rights to the Premier League from 2013-14 at a cost of £246 million per season.
BT will also have exclusive live broadcast rights to matches played by Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs in any future European competitions from 2014-15 for three years.
BT Vision CEO Marc Watson said the telco would look to distribute its prize on a variety of platforms. “We plan to bring the excitement of the very best matches to as wide an audience as possible. BT is delighted to have secured this deal. Rugby Union is entering a thrilling phase with the World Cup being staged here in 2015 and rugby returning to the Olympics in 2016.”
Depending to the nature of any deal struck, this will automatically put pressure on the subscriber levels of Sky Sports and ESPN, which currently share the rights.
The agreement, which is worth up to £152 million, covers:
- Exclusive live broadcast rights to up to 69 matches per season from Aviva Premiership Rugby for four years starting from the 2013-14 season.
- Exclusive live broadcast rights to matches from the entire JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series for four years starting from the 2013-14 season.
- Exclusive live broadcast rights to matches of Aviva Premiership teams in any future European competitions for three years starting from the 2014-15 season.