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back to article BT Sport scores own goal with £897m Champions League footie rights deal

BT massively padded out its investment in the telecom giant's new Sports TV channel on Saturday after it won the rights to show all UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League football matches for three seasons from 2015/16. It has splurged £900m on the TV rights, adding to the £738m it already sunk into 38 live Premier League …

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Nice timing

Announced on the day I get a letter from BT to say their putting up the charge for my land line. Could the two events be connected?

Dear BT: please stick to providing a phone/broadband service and leave the content to other people

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JC_
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Re: Nice timing

BT don't have a monopoly any longer - you can vote with your principles/wallet and go elsewhere.

Plusnet are good and as they're owned by BT they meet your "stick to providing a phone/broadband service" suggestion.

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Re: Nice timing

BT don't have a monopoly any longer

Deciding to join Tesco Broadband for your Internet because you don't want to give money to BT is like telling someone to buy a Skoda so they don't give their money to VW.

BT still have a monopoly in the way they own the landlines in the country (bar Hull, obviously). If you purchase internet that requires a "BT line" (i.e. landline) then money is still going to BT in the form of line rentals.

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Gav
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Re: Nice timing

Like Sky stuck to dishes and content and left the phone/broadband service to other people? Oh... wait... no they didn't.

Like it or not, the market is pushing TV and comms provision ever closer together. And football has proven before to be the perfect brand leader if you want to get a toehold in a market.

It was practically inevitable that BT did something like this. They had to.

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Re: Nice timing

Yeah, whatever happened to local loop unbundling?

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Re: Nice timing

@Gav it's not really like that though is it. Sky Broadband runs over BT equipment, so if Sky signs up 1 million customers a year BT gets a chunk of money from those 1 million customers.

I thinks it is quite nice that BT have managed to find almost £1.5bn in the last couple of years for such tribalistic entertainment when they were begging the government for £2bn to roll out fibre across the country.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice timing

I'm moving next month to an area that actually gets a decent 3g signal, so I'm going for a mobile broadband solution and BT can stick their line charges up their arse.

£18/month for no limits data, and 2000 free minutes for the phone I plug in to the router - what's not to like?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm moving to 3G

£18/month for no limits data, and 2000 free minutes for the phone I plug in to the router - what's not to like?

What network is that on, Three?

It's just alot of the other ones offer 'unlimited data' but prevent tethering, so it's as much data as you can use on your device only.

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Re: I'm moving to 3G

Well the ping which put me off, had someone babble on about it so they showed me and I wasn't able to get a stable low ping (I.e under 100ms all the time).

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Free 1st year subscription for new customers on BT broadband/landline contract of £xx a month makes it blinking obvious why they've paid so much; it's effectively a per new subscriber fee for all the customers they expect to pick up for other services isn't it?

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On Digital

I wonder how long BT can stomach bankrolling this. Many others have tried spending big up front to try and buy success but really only Sky succeeded and that was only because Murdoch had really deep pockets and was prepared to play the long game. Think back to OnDigital!

There's a story about the first match shown on OnDigital where it would have been cheaper to chauffeur drive each viewer to the ground and buy their ticket than it cost to cover the match. That's ignoring the cost of the rights!

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Re: On Digital

I remember getting a nice letter from ITV Digital's Liquidator, 'inviting' me to purchase their receiver.

Sent them a nice letter back politely declining and inviting them to collect their receiver from our house.

They never replied. Nor did they ever collect it.

I can only imagine it's now rotting in landfill, along with many, many of its brethren.

Will BT Sport/vision go the same way, Who knows. But I'll bet old Rupert will just bide his time...

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Re: On Digital

Still have an ondigital box, made a nice (if slow, seemingly typical of Pace STBs) freeview receiver until the freeview system was 'updated' in October.

Currently a monitor stand, might fire it up into the loft as a historic artifact of the early days of digital.

ITV Digital - remember that. The sports channel that bought up all football rights (sound similar?) then ran out of money. They also had a news channel for a while, I remember that from when it would be shown on ITV overnight (similar to BBC News channel). During the Iraq invasion it seemed to show live video of the drive towards Baghdad, like a surreal post apocalyptic roadtrip.

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Re: On Digital

They didn't buy up all the football rights - they paid over-the-odds for Football League football, then found that they couldn't actually pay the Football League for a particular instalment.

Sky didn't have the Football League rights prior, so ITV Digital were overreaching themselves to buy it up before some mythical time that Sky might do.

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Re: On Digital

During the Iraq invasion it seemed to show live video of the drive towards Baghdad, like a surreal post apocalyptic roadtrip.

They were showing the directors cut of Mad Max.

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Re: On Digital

Murdoch 'invested' too. It's not cheap building & launching satellites. BT's utilisation of their existing network strikes me as rational.

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Must an OnDigital go bust in every generation

For the benefit of those who have no imagination?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh FFS!

That money would be so much better spent on improving their coverage. I'm still waiting for them to bring Infinity to my end of the village where I live. The bastards turned left when they got to the top of the road where the exchange is. Net result is that the southern end of the village are nicely cabled up, while the rest of us poor saps have to wait for that dim and distant date where they get round to us. BT know they can afford to make us wait as Virgin's cable coverage stops a mile to the north. So much for consumer choice.

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Joke

Re: Oh FFS!

"Net result is that the southern end of the village are nicely cabled up, while the rest of us poor saps have to wait for that dim and distant date where they get round to us. BT know they can afford to make us wait as Virgin's cable coverage stops a mile to the north."

Always the same: the southern bastards get everything, northern folk have to wait...

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Re: Oh FFS!

I hear that.

Broadband speeds in my village are 1.5mb/s.

The infinity postcode check suggests I can get it, upon ordering the BT engineer popped up to the local exchange then phoned me to tell me at 2 miles I'm too far for the signal attenuation, and he wouldn't recommend installation.

I asked BT openreach what it would take to get a DSLAM in the village, as speaking to neighbours there does seem to be some demand. The response was that it needs to be beside an exchange (2 miles away).

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Re: Oh FFS!

"better" according to you, no doubt. But it's a commercial company, not a nationalised utility. It makes decisions based on return on investment. Any large company has a number of options where it spends it's money, and will do so where it thinks fit with a large part of the decision being return on capital.

The reality is in any network business that some areas are highly profitable to serve, others aren't; hence BDUK funding, etc. If a company feels they'll get a better return by investing in football rights than cabling up your village then that's what they'll do.

The two decisions are likely to be independent anyway, since the available capital to a company of this size is sufficient to do both.

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Yay - More value-added content I don't want

Can't wait to move to another provider. Shame they are all so bad... (Still miss my 14Mb O2 ADSL service - more reliable than the 30Mb Infinity connection I have in my new house.)

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The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

...is that many people don't think much of their brand.

Maybe it's time they changed their name again, and chose something bold and daring and ever so slightly plasticky like so many other big, anonymous corporations. For instance:

Norwich Union -> Aviva

British Gas -> Centrica

What kind of name could BT go for?

What about something celestial, like the name of a star or planet...for instance: "Uranus"?

Or how about 'Bolloxa'? That surely sounds exotic and foreign, and in a somewhat strangely smelly way, remotely sexy. Or: ConArt? That name will have the advantage of being immediately recognisable across the channel.

No disrespect here - just a bit of fun.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

Upvote just for the fact I'm more likely to purchase Internet access from a company called "Uranus" or even "Isiscompletecrap" than BT....

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Re: The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

"What kind of name could BT go for?"

How about FurQ?

(Pronounced 'furk', obviously.)

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Re: The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

Old Dilbert joke: 'Uranus Hertz'

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Re: The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

BT were one of the first of the biggies to rebrand, formally being British Telecom, yes I know, not very imaginative.

Still they could pretend that they are owned by a lovable beardy bloke, even keeping his brand name.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

shame Crapita's already taken as a name ...

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Alien

Re: celestial names for BT

How about

Limax (the Slug) for speed

Taurus Poniatovii (Poniatowski's bull) for support

Globus Aerostaticus (the hot air baloon) for PR repsonse

- all obsolete contellations

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Re: The problem with BT's attempts to buff up their brand...

Around here we call them BfT. It won't take much imagination to wonder what the f stands for.

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fixed this for you...

"[...] and give people yet another reason to take our TERRIBLE service"

From my experience their service is dreadful at best, but YMMV

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Re: fixed this for you...

I was incredibly happy with my 38Mbps infinity connection, until recently. It was really reliable, very fast even in peak times. However, for the last couple of weeks it has slowed down to about 2Mbps in the evening. I knew it wouldn't last!

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Coat

Cost of broadcasting rights £897M.

Seeing BSkyB subjected to their own medicine: priceless.

---

Disclaimer: I am not a football fan

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WTF?

The amount that they spent on that seems crazy to me, but then i am not a football fan so maybe that is it.

On the other hand, they did manage to wipe 10% off sky shares today, so perhaps money well spent after all...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24898597

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That's £12 from every man, woman and child in the country. For one year?

Somehow that seems an INCREDIBLY stupid amount of money to pay. They're expecting to get something like £34 extra, from every household in the country, JUST to cover their costs of that one purchase.

Add in the other purchases, the cost of delivering those services that they've paid that for, and subtract the odd subscription for those households who will gladly move to BT JUST to watch the sport - that's some HUGE loss there, surely. Even if you think people will take a more expensive broadband to get the sport, or pay extra for sports channels, etc.

Something just doesn't add up. If I were a shareholder, I'd be demanding an explanation. Just how much do they expect to earn from that £1bn+ investment over the course of that sports season?

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Anonymous Coward

Normally I'd be in favour of gangsters wiping each other out.

Unfortunately they're doing it in my street, with weapons bought with my money.

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@Lee D

Actually 3 years and, yes, it is a colossally stupid amount of money, but that is what football is all about these days. Prices of players, shirts with advertising logos, season tickets, everything very costly at the top levels of the game. I am a BT shareholder but definitely not a fan of football, and I'm not overly concerned about the money spent in light of the immediate market reaction and also the fact that BT doesn't really need to make much of a profit on this if it can just add to the subscriber numbers. The profit is available anyway as Sky's current figures show, and all BT is trying to do is copy what Sky did to Setanta. The real fight starts after 3 years when BT will be wanting to hold and even grow the subscriber base and Sky also knows that they'll need to dig deep in their coffers to launch a counterstrike. The downside for me is that the greedy tossers at the FA, EUFA and FIFA look like being the ultimate winners in all this.

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It might be £12 for every person in the country but you've forgotten to offset the programme sponsorship and advertising revenue that screening the matches will generate.

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I don't subscribe to BT Vision,

but would like to extend my thanks to all those that do, for helping to get football away from free-to-air telly. If you could now persuade BT that Eastenders would be a worthwhile purchase...

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Re: I don't subscribe to BT Vision,

I've got bad news for you. ITV now have 90 minutes more to fill every Wednesday.

I predict either: Midweek X Factor, or movie length Coronation Street.

It's unlikely to be an improvement on the footie. I just hope that BT do their attacking of Sky by messing up football. And leave the cricket alone! Although if they force Sky Sports to be cheaper (fat chance!) then I'd be happy. There was some idiot on the Today Program this morning, saying this BT thing would be good for consumers. Tee hee! As if it doesn't just mean that footie fans will end up having to pay 2 subscriptions, rather than just one.

Roll on sensible sports governing bodies. The NFL will let you buy TV rights for a whole season online for £160. That's all games, and access to all sorts of other stuff, and an archive of all the games since they started doing internet broadcasting (about 6 years). Or for half that you can just have access to all the games for the team you support.

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Anonymous Coward

Great news

The point surely is that BT has a model that tells it when it's paid over the odds - I very much doubt an 'analyst' has that model.

But the bigger point is surely that it's a great bloody nosing for Sky. Well done BT. Nice to see competition in this space at last.

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Mental!

RIP MotoGP on Eurosport :( Now only available on BT Sport.

What's annoying is that I know how this will all turn out. They'll get bored / run out of money in a few years then coverage will end up back on Eurosport. Can't we just fast fwd past this inevitable debacle?

BT have gone crazy with these football TV rights and now that has set the market price for any future negotiations. I'd like to see a model where you could just subscribe to all your team's Premier League games, including the Saturday 3pm matches. I have literally no time or interest in watch the matches of teams I don't support. To prevent the TV money being dominated by the better supported teams, you have a standard price with all subscription money going to the Premier League and split evenly amongst all teams. Not being able to watch the 3pm kick offs (legitimately) is annoying, especially when there's live English commentary at all the games and they're being beamed live around the world.

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xyz
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Re: Mental!

As with F1, you do know there are numerous streams (HD,SD and flash) on the internet where you can watch your favourite sport live and for nada without having to pay the BT or Sky shilling?

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Re: Mental!

"RIP MotoGP on Eurosport :( Now only available on BT Sport."

Which is available on Sky (like eurosport is) and Virgin and is free to BT Broadband subscribers..In other words, a wider audience than Eurosport.

You had to pay for Eurosport, now you have to pay for BT,

If you had said RIP to MotoGP on the BBC, you would have a point.

MotoGP is now far bigger here because of the BBC's coverage (in spite of the crap commentators), not because of the French Eurosport's delayed coverage.

Football I couldn't give a free-kick about.

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Re: Mental!

Like RIP WRC (where is it even shown nowadays?), and despite half decent coverage ITV doesn't seem to market BTCC on ITV4 very well, a hidden sunday afternoon gem.

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Re: Mental!

Actually you can get Eurosport without Sky. A sub to the Eurosport player costs around £30 a year iirc.

It's on some smart TVs, but or will otherwise run on your computer. USING SILVERLIGHT. *facepalm*

Still stuck with Sky then.

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Re: Mental!

I'll wager that the BBC's F1 coverage (patchy as it is) won't last long because of this - now Sky have a few bob extra to ensure exclusivity there...

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Re: Mental!

Oh yes I'm aware of the streaming sites. Not that I've ever used them of course, oh no, ahem.

I should have clarified that I actually subscribe to Eurosport Player since I refuse to pay for Sky, that and the budget never being signed off by the missus. I've always really enjoyed Eurosport coverage of all sports so I'm happy to pay them a few beans per month. Just a shame it's Silverlight and I could totally ditch Windows on my HTPC.

So my only method of getting BT Sport would be to subscribe to BT broadband and quite frankly I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.

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Re: Mental!

And the attendant potential nasties ............

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Anonymous Coward

Self inflicted, instead of sticking two fingers up at Sky and BT the sheep will pay over the odds or take up Broadband to get to see 'their' team play. Instead subscribers should stick two fingers at them and say no. No one pays, they collapse, price comes down, back on the normal telly.....

No wait, forget that, football matches on terrestrial telly? Saturdays and Sundays taken up by sport and the odd 30 year old film.... No thanks.

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