Amid reports that telecoms giant BT is looking to sell a stake in BT Sport, media behemoths Disney and Amazon are among those looking for a piece of Premier League action.
As BT confirms that it is in talks with interested parties over the future of BT Sport, the company has yet to officially declare how it wishes to proceed, with either a part-stake to bring in outside investment to the media business or a complete sell off both possible outcomes.
Nonetheless it has confirmed talks are in progress and Amazon, Disney and international sports streaming venture Dazn are all reportedly in the mix.
A BT statement read, “Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth.
“The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.”
BT Sport has spent billions in its efforts to take on rival broadcaster Sky and boasts exclusive rights to the Champions League as well as multiple Premier League matches. It also shows UFC, boxing, MotoGP and a number of other sports.
Moreover, the impact of Covid-19 on sporting events and the recent threat to European football with the failed breakaway Super League has demonstrated a level of risk in ploughing huge sums of money into televised sport.
However, in light of this challenging backdrop, recent news suggests that the current split of Premier League rights between Sky, BT and Amazon Prime will now remain in place until 2025, ensuring BT's value. Thus, the acquisition of the rights held by BT Sport would bolster the sporting presence in the UK for the likes of Disney and Amazon.
Amazon has already flirted with Premier League action over the past two years, acquiring a large segment of recent December matches, including the Boxing Day fixtures so important for English football fans over the Christmas period, and increased football offerings would seem a logical next step. Jeff Bezos’ media giant also broadcasts ATP and WTA tennis tournaments throughout the year.
Streaming rival Disney has significant live sporting presence in the U.S with its ESPN network and its Star+ service which is rolling out in Latin American in June will have live sports offerings too. Getting hold of BT Sport in one form or another could give Disney the option of adding a separate sports streaming element to Disney+ in the same way it recently added the more adult themed Star to the family friendly streaming service.
Leave a comment in the discussion thread telling us what you think of this possible development. Is it a good thing for Amazon or Disney to get their hands on even more content or would it make subscription choices simpler if movies, TV and sports were in one place?