BT Sport

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BT Sport
BT Sport logo 2019.svg
TypeJoint venture
CountryUnited Kingdom, Ireland
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
Ireland
HeadquartersHere East, Hackney Wick, London
Programming
Picture format2160p UHDTV
1080i HDTV
Ownership
Owner
Sister channelsBoxNation
BT Sport 1
BT Sport 2
BT Sport 3
BT Sport 4
BT Sport Box Office
Eurosport 1
Eurosport 2
History
Launched1 August 2013
Links
Websitewww.bt.com/sport
Availability
Streaming media
BT Sport PlayerWatch live (1, UK only)
Watch live (2, UK only)
Watch live (3, UK only)
Watch live (4, UK only)
Virgin TV GoWatch live
Now TVWatch live (Ireland only)

BT Sport is a group of pay television sports channels in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Owned by Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe and BT Group, they first launched on 1 August 2013. The channels are based at the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.[1] BT Sport is available on the BT TV, Sky and Virgin Media television platforms in the UK and Sky, Eir TV and Vodafone TV in the Republic of Ireland.

BT Sport holds exclusive live UK and Republic of Ireland TV rights to 52 Premier League matches per season, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UFC, National League, Ligue 1, Serie A, the European Rugby Challenge Cup, the Premiership Rugby Cup, MotoGP, the FIH Hockey World League and WWE. They are also the official broadcast partner of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Premiership Rugby.

History[edit]

Premier League deal, launch[edit]

News of BT's first foray into sports broadcasting first came about on 12 June 2012, when it was announced that they had won the rights to 38 live Premier League matches for three seasons from the 2013-14 season, beating ESPN UK, which had held the shared rights with Sky Sports the previous season. BT announced at the same time that it would be launching its own channel for its new football coverage.[2] The news followed speculation that ESPN was reconsidering its position in the UK.[3] The following months also saw BT win rights to Premiership Rugby and its associated 7s Series, and American, Brazilian, French and Italian top-flight football.[4][5]

On 25 February 2013, BT announced an agreement to acquire ESPN's television networks in the UK and Ireland, including ESPN and international sports channel ESPN America; this agreement gave BT rights to the FA Cup beginning in 2013–14, the Bundesliga and UEFA Europa League through 2015, and the Scottish Premier League through 2017, as well as other international event rights licensed through ESPN. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but BT was understood to be paying "low tens of millions". The deal was expected to close by 31 July, and BT was expected to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel as part of the BT Sport service.[6]

BT made other notable rights deals ahead of BT Sport's launch, including UFC mixed martial arts under a three-year deal,[7] and MotoGP beginning in 2014, under a five-year deal.[8] In May 2013, BT announced that BT Sport would be offered for free to its internet subscribers via streaming.[9] Media analyst Steve Hewlett felt that BT's entry into the sport market was an effort to help strengthen its triple play business and, in particular, help retain internet subscribers lost to Sky (which he believed would result in greater financial loss than those that would be sustained by operating BT Sport).[10]

BT Sport launched on 1 August 2013.[11] On 12 August, BT reported that over 1,000,000 households had subscribed to the service ahead of the start of the 2013–14 Premier League, although admitting that the majority of them were BT internet subscribers.[12]

On 9 November 2013, BT Sport announced its acquisition of rights to the UEFA Champions League and Europa League beginning in 2015–16, under a three-year deal valued at £897 million, replacing Sky and ITV.[13] The interactive service BT Sport Extra launched in 2014.[14] In January 2015, BT Sport renewed its licensing agreement with ESPN International under a seven-year deal, allowing it to continue operating an ESPN-branded network as part of BT Sport, and hold rights to ESPN original programming, and event broadcast rights that are distributed internationally by ESPN.[15]

UEFA deal, expansion[edit]

On 9 June 2015, BT Sport announced it would launch a new channel, BT Sport Europe, which would carry all UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches. Concurrently it was announced that only the BT Sport 1 channel would be free to BT internet subscribers, and that BT Sport 2, BT Sport ESPN, and BT Sport Europe would require viewers to subscribe for £5 extra. BT also announced a Freeview HD channel, BT Sport Showcase, which would carry 12 Champions League matches and 14 Europa League matches per season on a free-to-air basis, including at least one match per-round, each English team featured once, and the finals of both tournaments.[16][17]

BT Sport also announced that it would launch BT Sport Ultra HD, the first 4K sports channel in the UK, on 2 August for the 2015 FA Community Shield. The channel would initially be exclusive to BT TV on BT Infinity, with a 4K service package and compatible YouView set-top box.[18] In 2016, BT Sport Europe was renamed BT Sport 3.

In 2017, BT Sport began an agreement with boxing promoter Frank Warren, under which Warren's channel BoxNation would be distributed as part of the BT Sport service, and that BT Sport and BoxNation would co-produce 20 cards per-year, which would air on Saturday nights and be simulcast by both networks.[19][20] In April 2018, BT Sport announced a pay-per-view service, BT Sport Box Office, with an intent to broadcast premium boxing events.[21] On 2 August 2019, BT Sport relaunched its 4K channel as BT Sport Ultimate, and began to offer Dolby Atmos sound and high dynamic range (HDR) on supported devices.[22]

On 20 June 2019, BT Sport announced an agreement to carry the programming and pay-per-views of U.S. professional wrestling promotion WWE, ending a relationship with Sky Sports that dated back to the network's launch in 1989.[23]

Joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery[edit]

In April 2021, it was reported that BT were exploring a sale of all or part of BT Sport, in order to focus more on its fibreoptic services. Rumoured suitors included Amazon.com Inc. (which is one of the Premier League's current rightsholders), the sports streaming provider DAZN (which had notably beat out Sky Italia for exclusive domestic rights to Serie A football), and ESPN owner Disney.[24][25][26] By September 2021, DAZN were reported to be in "advanced talks" with BT.[27][28] However, in December, it was reported that negotiations had stalled, and that Discovery Inc.—who owns competitor Eurosport, and were preparing to merge with WarnerMedia to form Warner Bros. Discovery—was negotiating a joint venture with BT to combine their respective networks.[29][30] In February 2022, the two companies entered exclusive negotiations.[31]

On 11 May 2022 Warner Bros. Discovery EMEA (WBD) announced that it had reached an agreement to combine its Eurosport UK business with BT Sport in a 50/50 joint venture, in a transaction scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022 pending approval from regulators and sports bodies. Under the agreement, WBD will assume the operations of BT Sport, and merge them with Eurosport under a new brand at a later date. WBD will pay £93 million to BT over three years; if performance targets are met, WBD will pay a bonus of up to £540 million. The company will also have the option to buy out more of BT's stake in the venture. As part of the agreement, BT agreed to distribute Warner Bros. Discovery's factual streaming service Discovery+—which is the streaming platform of Eurosport—at no charge to most BT TV subscribers, and those who subscribe to BT Sport via the company directly.[32][33][31]

The venture was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 22 July 2022,[34][35] and completed on 1 September.[36]

On 1 August 2022, BT Sport ESPN was rebranded as BT Sport 4, while the BT Sport Extra overflow channels were rebranded as BT Sport 5 through 10.[37]

Availability[edit]

In the UK, BT Sport is available in standard definition with all BT TV packages for BT Broadband customers. The 4K channel BT Sport Ultimate is also available to BT Superfast Fibre customers for an additional fee.[18] BT Sport operates five part-time overflow channels, originally branded as BT Sport Extra, but branded since August 2022 as BT Sport 5–10. They are carried via the red button on Sky, and displayed as individual channels on the BT and Virgin Media EPGs.[37]

On Sky BT Sport 1 only is currently offered for free to broadband subscribers as 'BT Sport Lite', regardless of what subscription they have. Plusnet TV also offered the same until 1 November 2021 when their TV brand was discontinued,[38] however BT Sport is still available to Plusnet customers via the app service.[39] Customers who wish to view the remaining channels can subscribe to the 'BT Sport Pack' in either standard or high definition.[40] BT also provide broadband subscribers access to the channels via the BT Sport online player and mobile app.[41]

Virgin Media customers receive BT Sport 1, 2, 3, 4 , and Ultimate as part of their "Full House" bundle however, they do not receive BoxNation or AMC from BT.

TalkTalk TV customers must subscribe to the BT Sport Pack in order to receive the entire range of channels.

In the Republic of Ireland, BT Sport channels (except Ultimate) are bundled with Eir Sport subscriptions across all platforms, as a part of a deal BT had with its predecessor Setanta Sports[42][43]

In addition Freeview HD customers received BT Sport Showcase and Virgin Media customers received BT Sport Free. They closed on 30 June 2018.

On 4 December 2018, the SD versions of BT Sport and BT Sport ESPN stopped broadcasting on Virgin Media.

On 6 February 2019, BT Sport released the app for Xbox One.[44][45] It was later released for PlayStation 4 on 31 May 2019.[46] On 8 September, 2020 BT Sport also launched on Fire TV, Android TV and the Roku devices.[47]

Programming[edit]

Plans for the channels launch came about when it was announced in June 2012 that the broadcast rights to the Premier League from the 2013–14 to 2015–16 seasons were awarded to BT and Sky, outbidding existing broadcaster ESPN for the rights.[48] BT showed 38 live matches from the Premier League each season, including 18 first pick matches, from the 2013/14 season til the end of the 2015/16 season.

In October 2012, BT announced it had also agreed deals to air Serie A, Ligue 1, Brasileirão and Major League Soccer, all of which were previously broadcast on ESPN,[49] as well as Premiership Rugby.[50]

In January 2013, BT announced they would also broadcast Women's Tennis Association matches from 21 tournaments.[51]

On 25 February 2013, BT announced that it had acquired ESPN's UK channels and their sports broadcasting rights, including rights to the FA Cup, UEFA Europa League, Scottish Premier League, Bundesliga and NASCAR.[52] This led to the shutting down of ESPN Classic and ESPN America in favour of the BT Sport channels.

On 7 May 2013, BT Sport acquired the rights to air Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events and taped programming in the UK and Ireland for three years, from 1 August.[53] Two days later it was announced that BT Sport had acquired an exclusive five-year deal to broadcast MotoGP races from the 2014 season, including free practices and qualifying as well as full coverage of Moto2 and Moto3.[54] BT Sport also broadcasts the FA WSL, A-League and programming from Red Bull Media House.[55][56]

On 9 May 2013, BT announced that they had acquired the exclusive UK TV rights to MotoGP along with the Moto2 and Moto3 championships.

Later in May, BT Sport acquired rights to the Football Conference for two years with 25-30 live games a season, including the end-of-season play-offs.

On 9 November 2013, BT announced a £897 million deal with UEFA to broadcast the Champions League and Europa League exclusively on BT Sport from the 2015–16 season for three years. The deal ended two decades of the competition being broadcast free-to-air on ITV, although BT stated that the finals of both competitions and at least one match per season involving each participating British team would still be broadcast free-to-air.[57]

In January 2014, it was reported that BT Sport had acquired the rights to broadcast the World Rally Championship for the 2014 season.[58][59]

Football coverage[edit]

Studio hosts[edit]

Name Nat. Coverage
Jake Humphrey England Champions League
Seema Jaswal England Champions League
Lynsey Hipgrave England Premier League & Europa League
Darrell Currie Scotland Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Matt Smith England Premier League, Champions League, Europa League & National League
Reshmin Chowdhury England Europa League & Europa Conference League
Jules Breach England Europa League & Europa Conference League
James Richardson England Serie A & Champions League Goals Show

Studio Analysts[edit]

Name Role(s) Coverage
Rachel Brown-Finnis Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League
Joe Cole Studio Pundit Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Peter Crouch Studio Pundit Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Kevin Davies Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Europa League & National League
Rio Ferdinand Lead Studio Pundit Premier League & Champions League
Kevin Gallacher Co-commentator Ligue 1
Chris Hargreaves Studio Pundit National League
Owen Hargreaves Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
John Hartson Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Europa League
Glenn Hoddle Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Grant Holt Studio Pundit National League
Raphael Honigstein Studio Pundit Champions League Goals Show
James Horncastle Studio Pundit Serie A & Champions League Goals Show
Jermaine Jenas Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Martin Keown Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Steve McManaman Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Michael Owen Studio Pundit Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Robbie Savage Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Paul Scholes Studio Pundit Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Chris Sutton Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League

Lead Commentator[edit]

Name Coverage
Steve Bower Champions League & Europa League
Wayne Boyce Ligue 1
Simon Brotherton Champions League, Europa League & Ligue 1
Ian Darke Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Paul Dempsey Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
Peter Drury Europa League & Premier League
Dave Farrar Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
James Fielden Serie A & Ligue 1
Darren Fletcher Premier League & Champions League
Rory Hamilton Premier League & Europa League
Kevin Keatings Serie A
Alistair Mann Champions League & Ligue 1
Dan Mason Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
Guy Mowbray Champions League
Jonathan Pearce Champions League & Ligue 1
Dan Roebuck Serie A & Ligue 1
John Roder Champions League, Europa League & Ligue 1
Joe Speight Champions League & Europa League
Adam Summerton Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, Serie A, National League & Ligue 1
Clive Tyldesley Champions League
Paul Walker Ligue 1
Oliver Wilson Ligue 1
Steven Wyeth Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1

Bold Indicates BT Sport’s main commentator for that competition

Co-commentators[edit]

Name Role(s) Coverage
Clive Allen Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League & Ligue 1
Jim Beglin Co-commentator Champions League & Europa League
Rachel Brown-Finnis Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League
Karen Carney Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Kevin Davies Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Europa League & National League
Tony Dorigo Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
Efan Ekoku Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League & Ligue 1
Kevin Gallacher Co-commentator Ligue 1
Owen Hargreaves Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
John Hartson Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Europa League
Glenn Hoddle Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Don Hutchison Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
Jermaine Jenas Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Martin Keown Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Steve McManaman Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Danny Mills Co-commentator Champions League & Europa League
Chris Perry Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League & Ligue 1
Stewart Robson Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
Robbie Savage Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Nigel Spackman Co-commentator Champions League, Europa League, Serie A & Ligue 1
Chris Sutton Studio Pundit & Co-commentator Premier League, Champions League & Europa League
Adam Virgo Co-commentator Europa League, National League & Ligue 1

Reporters[edit]

Name Coverage
Des Kelly (Chief Reporter) Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Reshmin Chowdhury Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Andy May Premier League, Champions League, Europa League
Natalie Quirk Champions League, Europa League, National League
Paul Dempsey Champions League & Europa League
Darrell Currie Premier League
Lynsey Hipgrave Premier League
Matt Smith Premier League
Jules Breach Premier League
Jeff Brazier National League
Becky Ives National League

Premier League[edit]

BT Sport currently has the rights to show 68 live Premier League matches in 2020–21 and 52 live matches per season between 2021–22 and 2024–25 seasons.[60][61] Their packages (A and G) give BT the rights to 20 second pick and 12 fifth pick matches. The coverage for the current rights period see BT Sport showing live matches on Saturday lunchtimes at 12:30 pm, they will also show midweek matches and 5 matches from the split weekend. The rights to the Premier League are shared with Sky Sports and Amazon Prime Video, who have 128 live matches, and 20 live matches respectively. The BBC, have highlights of all matches on Match of the Day.

Premier League matches are anchored by presenter, Lynsey Hipgrave. Matt Smith, Jake Humphrey, or Darrell Currie also present when there is more than one game broadcast on BT across a matchweek. Studio pundits include Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Peter Crouch, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves, Jermaine Jenas, Martin Keown, Robbie Savage, Glenn Hoddle, Steve McManaman and Chris Sutton. Lead commentary is provided by Darren Fletcher and Ian Darke, with Paul Dempsey, Adam Summerton and Rory Hamilton occasionally appearing, while co-commentary is provided by Steve McManaman, Robbie Savage, Glenn Hoddle, Martin Keown, Jermaine Jenas and Chris Sutton. BT sport typically uses field two commentators for most of matches they broadcast, one lead commentator and one co-commentor, but for bigger games they sometimes may field three commentators, using two co-commentators. The main match reporter is Des Kelly, however, Andy May, Reshmin Chowdhury, Darrell Currie, Lynsey Hipgrave and Matt Smith all occasionally appear as reporters too.

BT Sport Score[edit]

BT Sport Score is a weekly television programme broadcast on BT Sport during the football season. The programme was launched in 2016 to rival the BBC's Final Score and Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday. The programme updates viewers on the progress of association football games in the United Kingdom on Saturday afternoons between 2:45 pm and 5:00 pm. Darrell Currie and Jules Breach present BT Sport Score with Breach giving updates on Football League games, Fantasy football and social media. Usual pundits on the programme include Robbie Savage, Chris Sutton, Peter Crouch, Karen Carney and Jermaine Jenas, along with various other guests, with ex Premier League referee, Peter Walton providing analysis on refereeing across the games.

European Club Competitions[edit]

BT Sport has exclusive live coverage of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Europa Conference League until 2024.

UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League On Air-Team[edit]

Presenters:

Name Role(s)
Jake Humphrey Champions League Presenter
Seema Jaswal
Darrell Currie Europa League & Europa Conference League Presenter
Lynsey Hipgrave
Reshmin Chowdhury
Jules Breach
Matt Smith Champions League Highlights and Europa League Highlights Presenter
James Richardson Goals Show Presenter

Studio Pundits:

Name Role(s)
Rio Ferdinand Champions League Lead Studio Pundit
Peter Crouch Champions League Studio Pundit
Michael Owen
Joe Cole Champions League & Europa League Studio Pundit
Jermaine Jenas
Glenn Hoddle
Owen Hargreaves
Karen Carney
Paul Scholes
James Horncastle Goals Show Pundit
Julien Laurens
Raphael Honigstein
Andy Brassell

Lead Commentators:

Name Role(s)
Darren Fletcher Champions League Lead Commentator
Ian Darke Champions League Commentator & Europa League Lead Commentator
Peter Drury Champions League & Europa League Commentator
Steve Bower
Adam Summerton
Paul Dempsey
Steven Wyeth
Seb Hutchinson
Joe Speight
John Roder
Dan Mason
Alistair Mann
Guy Mowbray Champions League Commentator
Jonathan Pearce
Simon Brotherton
Dave Farrar
Rory Hamilton Europa League Commentator
Rob MacLean

Co-commentators:

Name Role(s)
Steve McManaman Champions League Lead Co-commentator
Robbie Savage Champions League Co-commentator & Europa League Lead Co-commentator
Martin Keown Champions League Co-commentator
Glenn Hoddle
Chris Sutton Champions League & Europa League Co-commentator
Jermaine Jenas
Jim Beglin
Don Hutchison
Stewart Robson
Nigel Spackman
Clive Allen
Efan Ekoku
Chris Perry
Danny Mills
Tony Dorigo
Karen Carney Europa League Co-commentator
Adam Virgo
Alex Rae
Stephen Craigan

Reporters:

Broadcasting teams for UEFA Champions League Finals[edit]
  • 2016 - Presented by Gary Lineker with Rio Ferdinand and Steve McManaman. Darren Fletcher and Owen Hargreaves commentating, Howard Webb providing referee analysis, with Des Kelly, Matt Smith and Reshmin Chowdhury reporting.
  • 2017 - Presented by Gary Lineker with Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard. Darren Fletcher and Steve McManaman commentating, with Des Kelly, Matt Smith and Reshmin Chowdhury reporting. Ian Darke and Owen Hargreaves commentating for BT Sport 4K UHD, and Seb Hutchinson commentating for BT Sport VR.
  • 2018 - Presented by Gary Lineker with Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Darren Fletcher, Steve McManaman and Glenn Hoddle commentating, with Des Kelly and Reshmin Chowdhury reporting.
  • 2019 - Presented by Gary Lineker with Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Glenn Hoddle. Darren Fletcher, Jermaine Jenas and Steve McManaman commentating, Peter Walton providing referee analysis, with Des Kelly, Lynsey Hipgrave and Reshmin Chowdhury reporting. Peter Drury and Owen Hargreaves commentating for BT Sport HDR, and Seb Hutchinson and Spencer Owen commentating for BT Sport VR.
  • 2020 - Presented by Gary Lineker with Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves. Darren Fletcher and Steve McManaman commentating, Peter Walton providing referee analysis, with Des Kelly reporting.
  • 2021 - Presented by Gary Lineker with Rio Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott and Joe Cole. Darren Fletcher, Steve McManaman and Glenn Hoddle commentating, with Des Kelly reporting.[62]
  • 2022 - Presented by Jake Humphrey with Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch in the main set and Seema Jaswal, Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves on the pitchside. Darren Fletcher, Steve McManaman and Glenn Hoddle commentating, Des Kelly reporting and Peter Walton providing referee analysis.
UEFA Super Cup[edit]

Since 2015, BT Sport have had exclusive live coverage of the UEFA Super Cup. In 2019, Gary Lineker presented alongside Joe Cole, Glenn Hoddle and Steve Mcmanaman. Darren Fletcher and Jermaine Jenas commentated, with Des Kelly and Lynsey Hipgrave both reporting.

Vanarama National League[edit]

BT Sport has exclusive rights to the Vanarama National League covering 1 game a weekend. Matt Smith is the main presenter, often being joined by pundits Grant Holt, Chris Hargreaves and Kevin Davies with Davies very occasionally providing co-commentary. Match commentator Adam Summerton is joined by Adam Virgo in the commentary box. Reporters include, Jeff Brazier and Natalie Quirk, and occasionally, Becky Ives.

FA Trophy and FA Vase[edit]

BT have the full exclusive rights to the FA Trophy and FA Vase finals every year from Wembley. Most recently in 2019, Matt Smith presented the games with Peter Drury and Kevin Davies commentating on the 2019 FA Vase Final and Adam Summerton and Adam Virgo commentating on the 2019 FA Trophy Final, with Jeff Brazier reporting across both games.

Ligue 1[edit]

BT Sport currently have exclusive rights to Ligue 1. Lead commentators on Ligue 1 action comes from Wayne Boyce, Simon Brotherton, Paul Dempsey, Dave Farrar, James Fielden, Seb Hutchinson, Alistair Mann, Dan Mason, Jonathan Pearce, John Roder, Dan Roebuck, Adam Summerton, Paul Walker, Oliver Wilson and Steven Wyeth. The co-commentators include Clive Allen, Tony Dorigo, Efan Ekoku, Kevin Gallacher, Don Hutchison, Chris Perry, Stewart Robson, Nigel Spackman and Adam Virgo.

Serie A[edit]

BT Sport announced they had regained Serie A rights in a three-season deal until the end of the 2023/24 season. At least five live games will be shown each round, totalling more than 200 live games across the season. It also announced that James Richardson will also host a new weekly Serie A show talking about all the main stories from each round of action. BT previously held exclusive rights to the Serie A until the end of 2017-18 season.[63]

Coppa Italia[edit]

BT Sport also airing the Coppa Italia plus Supercoppa. The same commentators heard on BT's coverage of Ligue 1 can also be heard on Coppa Italia.

A-League[edit]

BT Sport currently have exclusive rights to the A-League where Paramount+ Australia/Network 10 commentators and pundits are used.

Canadian Premier League[edit]

From April 2022, BT Sport secured rights to show live coverage of the Canadian Premier League; simultaneously sealing a deal to show Canada women's international friendly double-header against Nigeria the same month.[64][65]

Rugby union coverage[edit]

Premiership Rugby[edit]

BT became a senior broadcast partner of Premiership Rugby in 2013–14. The original Premiership coverage deal ran until the 2016–17 season and allowed BT Sport to exclusively broadcast up to 69 live games per season. The Aviva Premiership's viewing figures rose by 40% in TV audiences in its first season with BT Sport.[66] A third deal was signed in December 2020 to cover Premiership Rugby and the Premiership Rugby Cup until 2024.[67] The deal covers up to 80 matches a season from 2016–17 and introduced an extended highlights programme from the 2015–16 season.[68] Subsequently, in 2017 Channel 5 announced a deal that would see them simulcast five matches per season until the end of the 2020–21 season.[69] ITV subsequently took over the simulcasting rights, broadcasting up to 6 league season matches and the final between the 2021–22 and 2023–24 seasons.

The deal with BT Sport also sees them exclusively broadcast the league's associated sevens series and the Premiership Rugby Cup. BT Sport also had exclusive live rights to the Anglo-Welsh Cup from 2016–17 until its final competition in 2017–18.

European Professional Club Rugby[edit]

BT originally shared rights to European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR)'s champions and challenge cups with Sky Sports. The shared nature of the deal meant each broadcaster would exclusively broadcast up to 30 pool matches, 2 quarter-finals and 1 semi-final from each competition with the finals being shown by both. BT also received first pick on Champions Cup matches involving Premiership Rugby clubs.

For seven seasons from the 2018–19 season, BT Sport became the official broadcast partner of the Champions and Challenge cups and broadcast up to 134 matches per season.[70] The Challenge Cup will be shown exclusively on BT Sport whilst broadcasting of the Champions Cup was shared with Channel 4 in the UK and Virgin Media Sport in the Republic of Ireland until 2022 and with ITV and RTÉ from 2022 to 2024. Both channels simulcast one match from each round and the final.

Craig Doyle is the main presenter with Martin Bayfield and Sarra Elgan also presenting. Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kay, David Flatman, Austin Healey, Brian O'Driscoll and Ugo Monye provide further punditry and co-commentary. The reporters include Bayfield and Elgan as well as, Tim Cocker. BT Sport usually have one forward and one back acting as co-commentators on every match so one of Dallaglio, Kay or Flatman along with one of Healey, O'Driscoll or Monye join the lead commentator, Nick Mullins or Alastair Eykyn in the commentary box.

On BT's coverage of the Champions Cup, as well as those used on the Premiership rugby coverage, guest pundits and guest co-commentators are regularly used. In addition to Mullins and Eykyn, freelance lead commentators such as Andrew Cotter, Martin Gillingham, Ryle Nugent, Hugh Cahill, Scott Hastings and Sara Orchard are used, and along with Bayfield, Elgan and Cocker, Jill Douglas, Ross Harries, Sonja McLaughlan and Lauren Smith are also involved with presenting and reporting on coverage too.

Cricket coverage[edit]

In August 2015, it was announced that BT Sport had claimed the rights for Australia's home matches for five years starting in the 2016-17 season. This means that BT would show The Ashes series between England and Australia in 2017-18 with deal also including the Big Bash League, the Women's Ashes and the Women's Big Bash League.

From the 2018-19 Australian cricketing summer through to 2020-21, BT Sport took feeds from Australian broadcasters, Fox Cricket and Channel 7, with coverage being introduced out-of-vision by Matt Smith, Simon Hughes or Charles Dagnall.

As of 2021, BT Sport have secured rights to all international and domestic cricket played in West Indies and New Zealand, which includes England's tour to the West Indies in 2022.[71] In November 2021, BT renewed their deal with Cricket Australia which sees them cover matches until 2025. This includes the 2021–22 Ashes series, but excludes the Big Bash League and Women's Big Bash League.

Motorsport coverage[edit]

BT Sport has rights to numerous British, European, American and global motorsport series both in live and highlights form.

MotoGP[edit]

MotoGP is BT Sport's flagship motorsports event and in addition to the main MotoGP event, BT shows the Moto2, Moto3, Red Bull Rookies and CEV Repsol championships. Suzi Perry hosts the coverage alongside pundits Colin Edwards, Sylvain Guintoli, Michael Laverty and Neil Hodgson. Commentary is provided by Gavin Emmett and Hodgson, with Charlie Hiscott joined for Friday sessions coverage. Natalie Quirk appears as reporter. Emmett also presents Chequered Flag which is aired after the MotoGP race has finished.

Motorcycle Speedway[edit]

BT Sport also broadcasts motorcycle speedway including, the Premiership Speedway, Speedway Grand Prix and the Speedway of Nations. Natalie Quirk and Scott Nicholls host the coverage. The commentary team is Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum with Steve Brandon, the reporter.

Other International Motorsport Events[edit]

Other live series include the World Rally Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship, FIA European Formula Three Championship, International GT Open, World Series by Renault, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, and the Australian Supercars Championship where the world feed is taken directly from the host broadcaster. Highlights packages are also shown on BT Sport for series such as BRDC Formula 4 Championship and the British Formula Three Championship.

American sports coverage[edit]

BT Sport shows extensive coverage of American sports, including Major League Baseball (MLB), American College sports (NCAA football and NCAA basketball), Major League Lacrosse (MLL), and the X Games. BT Sport has a long-term agreement with ESPN to carry its original programming (including original documentaries and studio programmes), and events whose international rights are owned by ESPN International.[72]

Combat sports coverage[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

BT Sport holds the UK rights to UFC programming, most recently renewed in 2018,[73] including live events and other non-live programming. They also broadcast Cage Warriors events on occasions.[74]

Since UFC 239, selected UFC pay-per-view events have now been carried exclusively on BT Sport Box Office, and are no longer included at no additional charge—a move which faced criticism from domestic fans.[75][76]

BT Sports first ever live event was August 3, 2013 of which was UFC 163 headlined by José Aldo and The Korean Zombie.[77]

BT Sport have been highly praised by the UFC and fans alike for their coverage and work on their promo's.[78][79] They have also created their own original programming to go alongside this such as Dan Hardy's Breakdown Show,[80] preview and post fight shows[81] and even hosting their own awards show with Nick Peet, Adam Catterall and UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping.[82]

BT Sport will often air UFC produced shows during their programming such as UFC Now,[83] Connected,[84] Main Event,[85] Greatest Fights,[86] Countdown[87] and more.

BT Sport is looking to renew the UFC rights until 2025.[88][89]

Boxing[edit]

Since 2017 BT Sport has an association with BoxNation to show certain live fights from Frank Warren Promotions. On 15 September 2018 BT Sport showed its first boxing pay-per-view boxing event - the rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez[90] and on 1 December 2018 BT showed the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury fight. Both were shown on BT's pay-per-view channel BT Sport Box Office. Paul Dempsey leads the coverage alongside Richie Woodhall, Steve Bunce and other guests. John Rawling and Barry Jones provide commentary with Caroline Pearce or Ronald McIntosh the ringside reporters.

Professional wrestling[edit]

On June 20, 2019, U.S. professional wrestling promotion WWE announced that its programming would move to BT Sport in the beginning of 2020 (with pay-per-view programs sold via BT Sport Box Office), ending a relationship with Sky Sports that dated back to the network's launch in 1989.[23] As well as live shows, BT Sport also shows repeated highlights of Raw, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK and pay-per-views. In addition, they show certain WWE Network programs, such as WWE Ruthless Aggression and WWE 24, as well as special editions of No Filter WWE.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, WWE were unable to film their NXT UK shows under typical circumstances. To resolve this, BT let WWE utilize a set at the BT London Studios. NXT UK recommenced tapings on September 17, 2020.

World Poker Tour[edit]

In February, the World Poker Tour (WPT) announced a new deal with BT Sports to broadcast the World Poker Tour in the UK and Ireland across BT Sports networks. The company will broadcast season XV of the WPT, which took place from 2016–2017. Highlights from the season include the first WPT victory of poker commentator Mike Sexton and the first victory by a woman in an open WPT event.[91]

Previous coverage[edit]

Football[edit]

FA Cup[edit]

BT Sport obtained the rights to the FA Cup through its acquisition of ESPN, who had one year remaining in their existing contract. In 2016, BT Group extended its contract with The Football Association to show up to 30 live games a season from the competition from 2018–19 to 2020–21.[92]

In the first and second rounds, Matt Smith, Reshmin Chowdhury, Lynsey Hipgrave or Darrell Currie hosted the coverage. Lead commentary on these games was provided by Adam Summerton, Ian Darke and Paul Dempsey, alongside co-commentators, Adam Virgo and Kevin Davies. Reporters on these games included, Andy May, Natalie Quirk, Jeff Brazier and Becky Ives.

From the third round onwards, Jake Humphrey, Lynsey Hipgrave, Darrell Currie or Matt Smith hosted, alongside pundits taken from the Premier League coverage. Lead commentators included, Darke, Dempsey and Summerton as well as, Darren Fletcher and Peter Drury, and co-commentators included, Steve McManaman, Robbie Savage, Glenn Hoddle, Martin Keown and Jermaine Jenas. Reporters included, Des Kelly, Reshmin Chowdhury and Andy May.

The 2021 FA Cup Final was the last FA Cup game covered on BT Sport, with ITV regaining the rights from the 2021–22 season onwards.

FA Community Shield[edit]

From 2015 to 2020, BT Sport held exclusive live coverage of the FA Community Shield. From 2021, these rights transferred to ITV.

Scottish Professional Football League[edit]

BT hosted rights to show 30 Scottish Professional Football League games a season, sharing the rights with Sky Sports and BBC Alba. Darrell Currie was the main presenter with pundits including Chris Sutton, Stephen Craigan, Ally McCoist, Michael Stewart and Alex Rae. All of these pundits also contributed to co-commentary duty alongside Derek Rae, Rory Hamilton, or Rob MacLean who were the lead commentators. There was always a 3-man commentary line up on the Scottish coverage with the most prominent co-commentary pairing being Craigan and Sutton. Emma Dodds and Connie McLaughlin were the match reporters on the coverage. From the 2016/17 season, BT Sport had aired a 30-minute preview show "Scottish Football Extra" before every live match. From the 2020–21 season, all 48 live SPFL Premiership matches will be on Sky Sports.[93]

Scottish League Cup[edit]

From the start of the 2016–17 season, BT Sport had been the home of exclusive live coverage of the Scottish League Cup, showing two or three live matches per round, from July through to the final in November. The same personnel used on the SPFL coverage was used on Scottish League Cup coverage. From 2020, Premier Sports, will take over the rights for the Scottish League Cup showing 12 to 16 games per season.[94]

Bundesliga[edit]

BT Sport had full exclusive rights to the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Lead commentary on Bundesliga action comes from Ben Andrews, Steve Bower, Simon Brotherton, Paul Dempsey, Dave Farrar, James Fielden, Seb Hutchinson, Alistair Mann, Dan Mason, Jonathan Pearce, John Roder, Dan Roebuck, Mark Scott, Joe Speight, Adam Summerton, Paul Walker, Oliver Wilson and Steven Wyeth. The co-commentators include Jim Beglin, Tony Dorigo, Efan Ekoku, Kevin Gallacher, Don Hutchison, Chris Perry, Stewart Robson and Nigel Spackman. Occasionally, Premier League pundit and ex Bayern Munich player, Owen Hargreaves also contributes to co-commentary. Ben Andrews, Tim Caple, James Fielden, Mark Scott and Oliver Wilson are the lead commentators on 2. Bundesliga coverage. BT Sport lost rights to the Bundesliga from the 2021-22 season onwards for the next 4 years to Sky Sports.[95]

DFB Pokal[edit]

BT Sport previously broadcast DFB-Pokal.[96] From the start of the 2018–19 season, coverage moved to Eleven Sports for a season only,.

CONMEBOL Libertadores[edit]

Previously, BT Sport showed both 2018 Copa Libertadores Finals between the Argentine Superclásico rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate; in simulcast with FreeSports.[97][98] A year later, the Copa Libertadores final coverage moved to BBC Two.

Süper Lig[edit]

Towards the end of the 2019–20 season, BT Sport began showing 3 games a week from the Turkish Süper Lig.[99]

Cricket[edit]

Caribbean Premier League[edit]

BT have broadcast all 34 matches from the Caribbean Premier League most recently in 2017. Sky Sports took over the rights from the 2018 edition onwards.

Indian Premier League[edit]

In 2019, BT Sport also won rights off Sky Sports to broadcast every match of the 2019 Indian Premier League, however from the 2020 Indian Premier League the rights switched back to Sky Sports.

Tennis[edit]

In January 2013, BT Sport signed a deal with the WTA to show 21 live tournaments from the women's tennis tour. The coverage consisted of up to 800 live hours of coverage every year until 2016, each season ending with the WTA Finals.

From January 2017, BT Sport had the rights to show 52 WTA tournaments every year until 2019. Coverage on most competitions took feeds from the WTA international TV feed, but with larger events from the Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 category matches, Sam Smith or occasionally Annabel Croft presented coverage alongside Martina Navratilova. Lead commentary was provided by Chris Bradnam, David Law and David Mercer alongside co-commentators, Annabel Croft, Nigel Sears, Anne Keothavong and Jo Durie.

The last competition BT Sport broadcast was the 2019 WTA Finals in which Clare Balding presented coverage alongside Anne Keothavong and Jo Durie. With Annabel Croft and Nigel Sears reporting from Shenzhen. Lead commentary came from David Law and David Mercer alongside Keothavong and Durie.

For the 2020 WTA Tour onwards, Amazon Prime Video are now the exclusive UK broadcaster, showing 49 tournaments a year.[100]

Darts[edit]

BDO Darts coverage[edit]

It was announced in December 2014 that BT Sport would share the rights to the 2015 BDO World Darts Championship alongside BBC Sport. Coverage would be presented by Ray Stubbs for the first two years of their coverage. In August 2016 they signed a new 2-year deal to share rights this time with Channel 4. Matt Smith took over as presenter with Chris Mason as studio pundit and Reshmin Chowdhury as roving reporter. Commentators on BT Sport Darts coverage were John Rawling, Jim Proudfoot, Vassos Alexander, Paul Nicholson, Deta Hedman and Chris Mason, these are shared with Channel 4's coverage, as the commentary is produced independently. BT Sport did not renew their contract for the 2019 tournament and the rights are now held by QUEST and Eurosport

Basketball[edit]

NBA[edit]

BT Sport previously held exclusive rights to the NBA, since 2009–10 season. Live coverage of the games began on ESPN, from 6 October 2009 when the Utah Jazz took on the pre-season game against Chicago Bulls as part of NBA Europe Live Tour. Coverage continued on 8 October 2009 for Utah Jazz against Euroleague Basketball's Real Madrid Baloncesto. The NBA season officially started on 27 October 2009.[101]

ESPN UK was unable to secure the rights to the 2012-13 NBA season until 5 December 2012 when a deal was made between NBA and ESPN to show 3 games a week, NBA All Star Game, First and Second Round NBA Play-off coverage, Western Conference Finals, and NBA Finals for this season (2012–13). Coverage began the following day. The channel continues to show this after the acquisition of ESPN by BT Sport (becomes BT Sport ESPN) until 2017–18 season. From 2018–19 season, coverage moved to Sky Sports.[102]

WNBA[edit]

Same as the men's league games, the Women's NBA games also moved to Sky Sports from 2018–19 season.

Magazine shows[edit]

  • Rugby Tonight - Sundays at 17:15 pm sees Martin Bayfield, Ugo Monye and Lawrence Dallaglio present a debate about rugby union. Their guests include current and former players and referees reviewing and previewing the Aviva Premiership and France's Top 14.
  • UFC: Beyond The Octagon - Presented by Adam Catterall alongside Gareth A Davies and Dan Hardy
  • Boxing Tonight - Presented by Paul Dempsey
  • BT Sport Score - Saturdays at 3:00 pm, keeps up with the latest scores across the UK presented by Darrell Currie and Jules Breach who are joined by various pundits.
  • UEFA Champions League Magazine - Fridays at 7:00 pm.
  • ESPN FC - Sunday-Saturday at 11:30 pm sees Dan Thomas present a football debate show alongside a list of pundits and writers including Craig Burley, Stewart Robson, Steve McManaman, Steve Nicol, and Don Hutchison.

Documentaries[edit]

BT Sport produces a series of feature-length sports documentary films under the title BT Sport Films. Among the films shown on the channel are The Beautiful Game, I Believe in Miracles and Don't Take Me Home. Documentaries that have been critically well-received include Rocky & Wrighty: From Brockley To The Big Time, about childhood friends David Rocastle and Ian Wright,[103] Shoulder To Shoulder, on the Ireland national rugby union team during The Troubles,[104] and Brothers in Football, which tells the story of Corinthian Football Club.[105]

These are shown alongside documentaries from ESPN, including 30 for 30, Nine for IX, SEC Storied and Backstory, as well as official MotoGP films.

Classic sport[edit]

BT Sport's weekday daytime schedules often include sporting action from yesteryear. Football features heavily and includes league matches from the 1970s and 1980s from both the ITV Sport, including full editions of The Big Match, and the BBC's Match of the Day archives. Also featured are FA Cup matches from the 1970s to the present day and UEFA Champions League matches. Other sporting action includes boxing matches from the ESPN and ITV Sport archives as well as MotoGP races and Australian cricket.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]