BT has confirmed it is in “early discussions” over the possible sale of a stake in BT Sport
It follows a report in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph that said the telco was in talks with potential partners including Amazon, Disney (the owner of ESPN) and sports streaming service DAZN. An unnamed UK broadcaster is also said to be in the frame.
“Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth,” BT said in a short statement.
“The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.”
BT Sport currently holds rights to the Champions League and Europa League football. It also has Premier League and FA Cup games and Premiership rugby.
BT’s financial statements now focus firmly on broadband with little mention of its TV offering.
In recent months there has been a reproachment between BT and Sky, with each other’s channels now available through the other’s platforms. Richard Broughton, Research Director at Ampere Analysis questioned how valuable the channel might be when it was decoupled from the BT platform. “Sport was effective as a churn management tool and to protect against Sky’s move into broadband, but a BT Sport separated from BT loses those economic drivers.”
It also calls into question plans by the Premier League to rollover its current contract among the existing broadcasters that also include Sky Sports and Amazon.