Three channels for football, rugby and on-demand sports incoming

BT is planning to launch not one, not two, but three sports channels, dedicated to football, rugby and other sports content.

According to a piece in the Financial Times, BT will launch a channel for both footie and rugger and is considering having a third channel free as a portal for on-demand matches and pay-per-view games.

BT Football Channel: Three channels for football, rugby and on-demand sports incoming

We knew that BT would be launching at least two channels when we spotted the applications for placeholder ‘Sailing’ channels on Ofcom’s site last week. Given the amount of football coverage BT has snapped up - there’s 38 Premier League games plus a wealth of European and international content - there’s more than enough for a single football channel.

BT sources wouldn’t comment on the speculation other than to say that “our plans are ambitious and so it is obvious we will need channels as well as a production company and a studio...” and that there was “lots more to reveal in the coming months.”

The FT piece also mentions plans to create shows similar to the BBC’s Grandstand and Rugby Special and that ex-Sky and ESPN production teams have been ‘poached’ by BT.

We’ll share more details once we have them...

November 21, 2012

Previous news stories about the BT Football Channel


What is the BT Football Channel?

In 2013 BT will be launching BT Sport, a collection of sports channels one of which will be home to live Premier League football games.

As well as this, BT has also acquired broadcast rights to Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1, Major League Soccer from the USA and Brazilian Brasiliero games.

BT has announced that one still-to-be-named sports channel will be dedicated to live footballing action from across the world.

There’s no set launch date for BT Sport or the BT football channel other than a vague ‘summer 2013’ ETA - presumably before the 2013/14 season kicks off. We can expect to see BT Sport live on BT-branded YouView boxes.

Previous news stories about BT's Football Channel

BT to launch sailing placeholder channels

An Ofcom report shows that BT has been given licence to broadcast what appears to be two sailing channels.

We did a bit of digging and found out that the channels - called ‘Sailing 1’ and ‘Sailing 2’ - are in fact placeholder channels for BT Sport.

A source at BT told us: “Sailing 1 and 2 are placeholders for the new BT Sport channel, which will be launching next year. For test purposes they will be showing sailing, treasure diving and kayaking content.”

BT Football Channel: BT to launch sailing placeholder channels

So while we can get used to breakneck boating action from BT, they won’t be permanent fixtures. What’s more interesting is that this gives us a clearer picture of BT’s intentions. BT could be planning on launching two channels, or a single channel with a timeshift counterpart, BT Sport +1.

BT has splashed a lot of cash around for Premier League football and Premiership rugby as well as European and US football coverage, so there’s plenty of content going to fill up two channels. As well as this, BT recently announced that it had signed up British Eurosport for BT Vision and streaming to BT YouView boxes.

November 12, 2012

Serie A, Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer signed up

BT has inked deals with several international football leagues including Italy’s Serie A and France’s La Ligue 1 for its upcoming sports channel.

Both the Serie A and La Ligue 1 rights include 380 HD live matches per season, highlights as well as weekly review and preview shows.

Today’s announcement also reveals that games from Major League Soccer (MLS) from the USA and Brasileiro in Brazil will be coming to the BT channel.

BT Football Channel: Serie A, Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer signed up

The Brasileiro rights include 100 live matches per season from Campeonato Paulista (Paulista) and Campeonato Brasileiro de Clubes da Série A (Brasileirão or Brazilian Serie A) and highlights while the MLS coverage amounts to 99 games in HD and no additional programming.

The still-unnamed BT channel will prominently feature a number of UK Premier League football matches as well as exclusive coverage of English Premier League Rugby for 2013-2014.

This news gives us clearer picture of the shape that BT’s sports channel is taking - domestic football and egg chasing plus some international kickabout too.

October 29, 2012

Formula 1 presenter Jake Humphrey to present BT Football Channel

BT has announced that Formula 1 presenter Jake Humphrey is to be head anchor of BT’s Barclays Premier League channel.

The channel which will show 38 live games a season for three seasons will launch in January next year. 18 of these games will be ‘first pick’ matches - high profile games such as Chelsea vs Manchester United - which marks the first time anyone but Sky has has won the rights to do this.

This news also scotches the long-held rumour that Gary Lineker was being lined up for the BT job, something which was anathema to many of our commenters.

September 18, 2012

Gary Lineker rumoured to host BT's Premier League channel

Former England football striker Match of the Day mainstay and potato-based snack promoter Gary Lineker is apparently due to head up BT’s forthcoming Premier League football channel.

Lineker, expected to take a pay cut by the BBC, is thought to be interested in making a transfer to the new channel.

BT’s channel will broadcast 32 Premier League games with Sky broadcasting the remaining 116.

July 2, 2012

BT spends £738 million for Premier League football rights

BT has shelled out £738 million for broadcast rights to a selection of Premier League football matches for three years.

Starting with the 2013-2014 season, BT will broadcast 32 matches a season alongside Sky, which will get 116 matches a season. Both Sky and BT will get the first pick of some of the hotter matches, with the former showing games on Sky Sports 1 (natch) and BT on a new forthcoming football channel.

BT’s football channel has yet to be named and nor is there any pricing information available. Given the size of the investment we can expect it to cost a bit but anticipate competitive pricing to compete with Sky’s coverage.

We would also expect that, as the case has been with Setanta Sports and ESPN, that Sky and Virgin Media TV subscribers would also be able to add the new BT channel to their packages. More on this as and when we get it.

June 14, 2012