BT Sport opens up for business
Joseph O'Halloran | 01-08-2013

After generating huge interest and making great waves in the UK TV industry months before its launch, the day has come for BT Sport to begin operations.

In a characteristically bullish statement, and meeting satellite rival Sky Sport, who is planning a similar first day, head on, BT has announced that the sports channel will be aired free for all to see on its first day of transmission for DTT and satellite users.

The curtain goes up at 6pm UK time with a first night special live show featuring most of the channels’ new presenters, experts, commentators and special guests, and taking place at BT Sport’s brand new studios, claimed to be the biggest purpose-built sports studios in Europe. The show will simulcast on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 2 until splitting to show cup football studio on the former channel and rugby on the latter.

BT Broadband customers who have signed up to BT Sport will be able to stream the channels live to their PC or Mac and be able to watch content again. BT customers will also be able to use a dedicated BT Sport app for selected Apple and Android smartphones and tablets which will offer live streams, highlights, news and features.

In future BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays English Premier League (EPL) — including 18 of the “top picks” — from August 2013 for three seasons. The channels will also show live FA Cup action, UEFA Europa League matches, and top tier live football from Germany, Italy, France and Scotland.

In its initial days BT Sport will also broadcast pre-season fixtures involving Britain’s most successful club, Liverpool FC, including clashes with Celtic, Valerenga and the testimonial game for team captain and football legend Steven Gerrard. The coverage comes off the back of a hugely successful and popular tour of Asia by the Reds who attracted over 225,000 fans in Thailand, Australia and Indonesia, totally eclipsing other so-called big clubs’ attempts to tap into the region.