BT's Soccer Service Rattles BSkyB

18 July 2007

LONDON: The battle for supremacy in British TV soccer coverage is dependent on deep pockets - one reason why News Corporation's satellite TV monopoly BSkyB dominates the sector.

Rivals, even the BBC, are unable (or unwilling) to match Murdoch's moolah.

So the advent in UK soccer stadia of a new and muscular presence, UK telecoms titan BT, will reopen competition in the cash-draining TV rights arena. Which is not welcome news for Sky.

BT Vision, the telco's new broadband-TV platform launched late last year, on Monday introduced a range of Barclays Premier League football packages starting at just £4 monthly; or pay-per-view access to chosen matches at just £1.99 each.

Says BT Vision ceo Dan Marks, one eye glaring Skyward: "We're a sports-loving nation and ordinary fans shouldn't be priced out of the action. Millions of fans have resisted subscription services to date and so we feel there's a substantial gap in the market."

Responds a Sky hypemeister: "More than six million customers trust Sky Sports to bring them the best live action in football and a host of other sports.

"Next season [we] will offer more live Premiership football than ever before and … offer near-live coverage of the same 242 matches that BT will offer to its broadband subscribers, but without any extra costs.

"We're confident that customers are smart enough to find the real value in this competitive marketplace."

Some observers detect sweaty palms in Murdoch's UK satellite bunker.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff