BT Sport strikes Virgin deal for new channels

Elizabeth Fournier
VIRGIN Media customers will now be offered access to BT’s new sports channels, after the network providers struck a deal just days ahead of the start of the Premier League season.
The three-year deal – BT Sport’s first tie-up with a rival pay-TV service – will mean subscribers to Virgin’s most expensive XL package will also get access to BT Sport 1 and 2 and ESPN.
A standalone service will be offered to customers on other price plans.
The addition of the new channels means Virgin Media customers will have access to both BT’s and rival BSkyB’s sport offerings, as subscribers already get Sky Sports 1 and 2 as part of their package.
Telecoms giant BT launched its sports offering at the start of August, and said earlier this week it had signed up over a million customers to its new offering, which it is giving to broadband customers for free as part of a drive to protect its core business.
“I am delighted we have signed a deal with Virgin Media that increases the audience for BT Sport to around three million homes overnight,” said Marc Watson, the chief executive of BT TV.
“BT has made a large investment in BT Sport and this is an important commercial agreement for us that recognises the excellence of the channels.”
The new deal has the potential to quadruple subscriber numbers, giving BT the opportunity to charge more for advertising on the channels.