BT has entered exclusive talks with Discovery to create a new 50/50 joint combining BT Sport and the UK and Ireland operations of Eurosport.
The new entity, which both companies say they hope to be operational later this year, would “remain committed to retaining BT Sport’s existing major sports broadcast rights” while also giving BT Sport subscribers access to Discovery’s sport and entertainment content, including the discovery+ app.
The proposed combined business would hold a host of premium sport rights, including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Olympic Games, cycling Grand Tours, tennis Grand Slams, the winter sport World Cup season and Premiership Rugby.
Completion of the deal is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.
BT has spent months in talks with various partners about a potential offloading of all or some of its sports venture, with boxing outlet DAZN initially seen as a front runner.
News of a tie-up with Discovery comes just days after plans to remove the Eurosport channels from the BT TV platform were reversed.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT Consumer, said: “The proposed joint venture with Discovery, Inc. would create an exciting new sports broadcasting entity for the UK and would act as a perfect home for our BT Sport business.
“With a shared ambition for growth, as well as the combination of our world class sports assets along with Discovery’s premium sports and entertainment content, our customers will benefit from even more content in more places.”
JB Perrette, President & CEO of Discovery Streaming & International, commented: “We are excited about this opportunity with BT Group to offer consumers a stronger and simplified combined sport offering in the UK and Ireland, and, more broadly, to advance our strategy of bringing sports and entertainment to more consumers on the platform of their choice.
“We are aligned with BT Group on a shared vision to maximize the value and appeal of our respective UK sport assets, and we look forward to concluding a deal in the coming weeks.”