Talks between BT and Sky over sports TV rights reach stalemate

TALKS between BT and Sky over TV rights have stalled, raising the prospect that BT customers will not have access to Sky Sports channels.

Ahead of the launch of BT’s sports channels this summer, the two companies are locked in discussions over distributing each other’s content on their own platforms but have so far been unable to agree over pricing.

BT has pledged that its content, which will include 38 Premier League football games per season from September, will appear on the Sky platform whether or not the parties clinch a wholesale deal that would see the channel sold through Sky. However, the two parties have also not come to an agreement over broadcasting Sky’s sports channels on BT’s platform.

The satellite broadcaster currently sells its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to customers of other broadcasters, such as TalkTalk and Virgin Media, as well as BT’s Vision service. However, a recent competition ruling means that Sky is now not required to offer Sky Sports to other broadcasters, and in the face of an increasing threat from BT, it could choose to stop selling the channels.

There is also a question of whether Sky will allow content from its other sports channels, including one dedicated to Formula One, on the rival service.

The battle between the two is set to extend to pubs, with BT pledging to undercut Sky’s current prices.