BT, ESPN extend sports collaboration

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 23 January 2015

In the latest development since the telco acquired the sports broadcaster's UK and Ireland TV business in 2013, BT Sport and ESPN have signed a seven-year agreement to expand the range of content transmitted.

espn2As part of the new deal, BT Sport will have the opportunity to use the ESPN brand in a range of different ways with ESPN remaining part of the BT Sport channel line-up for the long-term. BT Sport will also expand the amount of programming it receives from ESPN, up to 5,000 hours per year.

Among a range of content, programming supplied during the course of the agreement will include the Verizon IndyCar Series, NCAA College Football and Basketball, X Games, the AFL (Australian Football League) and more. There will also be enhanced availability of existing content supplied by ESPN, such as the ESPN Films documentary series, plus the introduction to BT Sport of world football show ESPN FC.

BT and ESPN will also continue to explore ways the two companies can collaborate around various digital media initiatives. Additional elements to the deal include the ability for BT Sport to take in key ESPN-supplied programming directly to its studios in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. BT believes that such a capability will hand greater flexibility and efficiencies to both parties.

"Continuing with ESPN, one of the world's leading sports brands, as part of the BT Sport portfolio is a win for our viewers, our partners and sport fans in the UK and Ireland," commented BT Consumer chief executive John Petter. "Our relationship with ESPN since BT Sport began operation of the ESPN channel in the UK and Ireland has been a big success, with the two companies collaborating on a number of initiatives."

Added Charly Classen, vice president and general manager, ESPN Europe, Middle East and Africa: "ESPN continues to be a key part of the UK sports landscape through the channel and content in the BT Sport line-up, as well as our successful and growing digital and content sales business in the region. We're thrilled with what has been a unique and successful collaboration with BT Sport over the past couple years, and are excited it will continue and expand over the long term, delivering great content and service to UK sports fans."