BT Sport has set up shop in over 19,000 pubs, clubs, betting shops and other commercial premises across the UK.
According to independent research commissioned by BT, this corresponds to 24 per cent of all pubs, putting it hot on the heels of Sky’s footprint which covers 25 per cent of pubs.
BT also claims to have increased the appetite for live sports in commercial venues, with the number of venues who had not previously taken live TV increasing by 26 per cent.
Bruce Cuthbert, director of commercial customers, BT Sport said: “To sign up 19,000 customers is a fantastic achievement and underlines the appeal and the affordability of BT Sport. And to achieve a 24 per cent share of pubs in our first year is phenomenal.
“A year ago we said we wanted to bring premium live sport to a wider audience including those that were unable to afford Sky’s high prices, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Our success in the commercial TV sports market adds to our achievements in the consumer area, where BT Sport is now available in around five million homes.”
BT promised to aggressively price its commercial sports offering in a bid to compete with Sky. The UK’s biggest ISP is offering pubs free installation of satellite dishes and packages containing BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN from £60/month.
The telco has contracts in place in the gaming sector. It cited the UK’s largest independent bookmaker, Betfred as one of its biggest customers. All three BT Sport channels are available in 1,400 Betfred bookmakers across the UK.
More than 10,000 bars and betting shops signed up for BT Sport last August, during the advent of the 2013/14 season, 1,370 of which were Betfred venues.
The Premier League’s plans to actively crack down on pubs offering access to games via foreign satellite platforms might have encouraged some pubs to go down the legitimate route.