BT Sport has snapped up rights to cover Liverpool FC pre-season matches including clashes with Celtic, Valerenga and Steven Gerrard’s testimonial.
The broadcaster confirmed its latest signing just hours before its new £1bn channels launch on Thursday evening.
Yesterday channel bosses announced the launch night programming would be available free to all homes with Freeview, TV from BT or Sky.
Broadcast from the Olympic Park in East London, the channels will offer 38 Barclays Premier League matches per season, plus exclusive Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) coverage and 800 hours of live tennis, including the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.
The latest signing allows BT to boost its live football coverage and gives them broadcast rights to Liverpool v Valerenga at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, Norway, on Wednesday, August 7. Kick off is at 6pm.
Viewers will also get to watch the team take on the Scottish champions Celtic at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, August 10.
BT also has exclusive rights to Steven Gerrard’s testimonial against Olympiacos on Saturday, August 3 and will be showing the opening game of the Premier League season on Saturday, August 17 when Liverpool FC take on Stoke City FC at 12.45pm).
Simon Green, director of BT Sport, said: “We’ve got a superb schedule of live Liverpool games in August, building from Steven Gerrard’s testimonial to the opening game of the Barclays Premier League season against Stoke, with two terrific friendlies in between.
“Fans of both clubs will be eager to enjoy Celtic versus Liverpool, which pitches two of the great European Cup holding teams together. These two clubs have not met for almost a decade, and it will be an emotional afternoon when it brings together the two teams. They played a memorial match in April 1989 to commemorate the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough that month, and a deep mutual respect has developed ever since.”
Matthew Baxter, chief media officer at Liverpool FC, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with BT Sport for these pre-season fixtures. Through BT Sport we can reach those fans that couldn’t get to the sell out fixtures bringing them live coverage so they don’t miss a minute”.
BT is offering its channels free to all broadband customers online and via smartphone and tablet apps. In addition, customers with a BT Vision+ or YouView from BT set top box and infinity broadband will be able to watch the channels on their TVs.
The company is also making the channels available for free to its broadband customers who have a Sky+ box and to Sky broadband and TV subscribers in return for a monthly fee.
No carriage deal has been agreed with broadband rival Virgin Media.