Over one million households are expected to have freemium channel BT Sport available when the Premier League kicks off on Saturday lunchtime.
BT says the total includes both free and paying customers, although the majority are thought to be households that already receive BT Broadband, as opposed to defections from rival ISPs. “There is a mix of existing BT broadband customers – who have re-contracted their broadband for at least 12 months – and new broadband customers who have been attracted by BT Sport,” the company said.
Access to the channel is through satellite, though no Sky contract is needed, terrestrially using BT’s leased DTT channels, and broadband. The latter two are fed through YouView and BT Vision boxes, through IP channels are only available where the area has BT’s top speed Infinity broadband service, and only the Vision receivers have the smart card slot. Online viewing is also possible.
John Petter, BT Consumer managing director said: “We always said that BT Sport would help us retain and attract broadband customers and that is proving to be the case. We are rewarding our customers for their loyalty and the strategy is working.”
It is not all plain sailing for BT; the flagship chatshow fronted by star signing Clare Balding picked up just 1,200 viewers.
BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays Premier League, including 18 of the ‘top picks’, for each of the next three seasons.