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Virgin Media UK Agree 3-Year Content Deal for BT Sport and ESPN TV

Thursday, Aug 15th, 2013 (10:12 am) - Score 740

Cable operator Virgin Media and rival telecoms giant BT have finally agreed a three-year wholesale deal that should bring the new BTSport TV content to millions of Virgin’s customers. The agreement is expected to take effect from this weekend.

Virgin had originally hoped to reach an agreement before BTSport’s original 1st August launch (here), which would have also returned the ESPN TV channel to the cable operators platform, but unfortunately this target was missed and negotiations continued.

The new wholesale deal, which has been signed in advance of the start of the Barclays Premier League this weekend, will enable Virgin Media to offer BTSport directly to its 3.8 million TV customers (i.e. BTSport 1 + 2 and ESPN).

Virgin’s 3 million or so XL TV subscribers will now gain access to the content as part of their existing packages but others will need to take it as a “standalone premium service“. The press release states that this is “similar to BT’s offer to satellite TV customers who do not have BT broadband and who can pay £12 a month for the channels via satellite or £15 a month in HD“.

Dana Strong, VirginMedia’s COO, said:

Virgin Media homes are kicking-off the new season with the most complete sporting line-up around in one simple subscription, from Barclays Premier League football and Aviva Premiership rugby to F1, live golf and the culmination of a great Ashes series. We’re excited to announce our deal with BT, making these fantastic new channels available at no extra cost to millions of Virgin TV viewers and in HD as standard.”

Marc Watson, BT TV CEO, added:

I am delighted we have signed a deal with Virgin Media that increases the audience for BT Sport to around three million homes overnight. BT is rewarding its loyal customers with free sport and it is great to see Virgin Media immediately making BT Sport available to so many of their customers.

BT has made a large investment in BT Sport and this is an important commercial agreement for us that recognises the excellence of the channels. We are keen to make our services as widely available as possible and to do so via wholesale arrangements. We are doing this with Sport.”

The new content will also be made available on Virgin TV Anywhere, although they describe this as “coming soon“. No doubt Virgin Media will be hoping that today’s move will be enough to prevent customers bleeding their way out towards BT’s broadband’s service, which bundles BTSport for free.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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