Ericsson lands contract to enable BT Sport channels

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 23 June 2015

Ericsson has won a multi-year broadcast and media services deal with BT Sport to help launch the telco's three new forthcoming television channels and an interactive red button service in the UK.

With Champions League rights for the forthcoming season, BT is set to become an ever more important pay-TV player and the new services will be enabled by broadcast services provider.

The two companies have an existing broadcast and media services contract and in the new deal Ericsson will be responsible for designing, building and running BT Sport Europe, free-to-air service BT Sport Showcase, and BT Sport UHD. BT Sport UHD will be the first ultra-high-definition channel to launch in the UK and will feature live football and other premium content.

Notably the deal includes supporting BT Sport UHD, the first 4K/Ultra HD channel to launch in the UK. Ericsson and BT Sport have been working on Ultra HD for some time, combining in 2013 for the first full multi-camera production of a sports event captured in 4K/Ultra HD TV and transmitted live internationally via satellite and fibre.

Ericsson will also help to deliver BT Sport's new BT Sport Extra red button service, which will enable viewers to choose between eight UEFA games broadcast live simultaneously – including UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games.

"BT Sport's UEFA Champions League coverage sets out to bring viewers the best ever experience of football's leading club competition," commented BT Sport and BT TV COO Jamie Hindhaugh. "Our 4K coverage of the UEFA Champions League alongside other competitions will bring a truly cinematic experience into fans' living rooms."

Added Thorsten Sauer, Head of Broadcast and Media Services at Ericsson: "We are very proud that BT has selected Ericsson to help launch a new range of high-profile TV services, including the UK's first UHDTV channel. BT Sport has made a significant commitment to its sport broadcasting portfolio, and we are delighted that Ericsson will play an integral role in its future success. This partnership is a significant win for our business and really underlines our role as a trusted partner to some of the world's leading broadcasters and sports rights holders. We will continue to work hard to deliver high-quality, innovative services."

Also as part of the deal, BT Sport has also extended Ericsson's existing six-year contract for BT Sport 1 and 2 by an additional three years. This contract includes playout and media management services and access services for both channels.