The wholesale deal, concluded ahead of the start of the Barclays Premier League this weekend, will allow the cable operator to offer BT Sport directly to its 3.8 million customers.
Those signed up for its XL TV package – around 3 million of its 3.8 million subscribers – will find BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN included in the package and without them required to take any further action.
Those not signed up to XL will meanwhile be offered the channels as a standalone premium service. This is similar to BT’s offer to satellite TV customers who do not have BT broadband and who can pay £12 (€14) 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.
Commenting on the deal, Marc Watson, BT TV chief executive said: “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.”
Dana Strong, Virgin Media’s chief operating officer, added: “Virgin Media homes are kicking-off the new season with the most complete sporting line-up around in one simple subscription, from Barclays Premier League football and Aviva Premiership rugby to F1, live golf and the culmination of a great Ashes series. We’re excited to announce our deal with BT, making these fantastic new channels available at no extra cost to millions of Virgin TV viewers and in HD as standard.”