BT 'in talks' to show Premier League football on ITV
Companies may work together on EPL coverage from 2013 to take on BSkyB
PREMIER LEAGUE football could be shown on terrestrial television for the first time if BT strikes a deal with ITV to set up a new channel and help it cover the games, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The paper reports that BT, which paid £738m for the rights to screen 154 games between 2013 and 2016, is in talks with the broadcaster about producing its football coverage, and claims that some matches could end up being shown on ITV.
"The agreement would allow BT to showcase a sample of the content it offers on its own pay-television service, BT Vision, and also to recoup a portion of its outlay on the high-profile matches," it reports.
Telegraph business columnist Damian Reece says a deal makes sense. "Some of [BT's] less glamorous fixtures could be sold to ITV to boost what would otherwise risk being anaemic audiences and act as a decent shop window for its more glitzy football fare over on its online service. Throw in shared advertising revenues and it's not a bad way for BT to defray some of the £738m it has spent on the sport for a three-season residency."
The Telegraph says that a tie-up would allow the two companies to take on BSkyB, which has the rights to most Premier League football matches and is a competitor to both companies in their respective fields.
"ITV wrangles with BSkyB for viewers and advertisers, while BT regularly loses broadband and telephone customers to the pay-TV company because they sign up for its bundled deals,” says the Telegraph. “Neither company has the wherewithal to tackle BSkyB single-handed but together they could make a serious dent.”
The paper adds that BT has prepared tender documents and is already in talks with ITV and other production companies as it prepares to launch its football coverage next season.
However, Dow Jones reports that ITV have distanced themselves from the claims. "We are not talking to BT about taking any of their Premier League matches for broadcast on ITV channels," a spokesman said.