BT strengthens football squad with deals to show leagues in Italy, France, Brazil and US

Joseph O'Halloran | 30-10-2012

In a rather tacit admission as to just how important football is to its overall TV proposition, BT has signed the rights to show live football matches from Italy, France, Brazil and the US.

Specifically the new BT Sport Channel—available on a number of platforms in addition to the core BT Vision IPTV service— will screen live matches from Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in France, Brasileiro in Brazil and the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the USA.

BT now has the new football rights for multiple years. The Serie A rights include 380 live matches per season delivered in HD, highlights packages from each match day as well as the weekly preview show Total Italian Football and weekly review Serie A Show. The Ligue 1 rights include 380 live matches per season in HD, a weekly preview show and highlights packages from each match day.

The Brasileiro rights include 100 live matches per season from Campeonato Paulista (Paulista) and Campeonato Brasileiro de Clubes da Série A (Brasileirão or Brazilian Serie A), weekly highlights shows from both competitions and TV Globo Soccer Magazine show “FootBrazil”. The Major League Soccer Championship rights include 99 matches per season in HD.

The new deal will complement the centrepiece of the BT Sport channel which is founded on 38 live games a season from the Barclays Premier League, 18 of which will be the best quality ‘first pick’ games featuring the top six teams.

Commenting on the new deals, a clearly delighted Marc Watson, CEO of BT’s TV division said: “We are delighted to announce that we will be adding to the Barclays Premier League live games with more top quality live coverage of games from some of the top leagues in the world. As well as enjoying 38 games from the Barclays Premier League, football fans will be able to follow David Beckham and Thierry Henry in the MLS and witness whether the resurgent Juventus can withstand the challenge of the two Milan giants in Serie A. They’ll also be able to enjoy the talent on show in the French Ligue 1, where they will see the skills of stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.

“We believe this extra depth of live matches will help us in our aim to develop an absolutely cracking sports channel, with fantastic live action, across the top football leagues, plus rugby union and other sports to come. We’ve hired the best talent behind the camera to bring to viewers the first rate production that they’ve come to expect from a sports channel in the UK.”