BT and Warner Bros. Discovery have agreed final terms for a joint venture combining their respective BT Sport and Eurosport channels and sports rights holdings.
The two broadcasters have been in discussions about forming a joint venture since February, a move which followed months of BT exploring a possible exit from sports broadcasting.
The new 50:50 joint venture will cover the pair’s operations in the UK & Ireland and will hold a rights portfolio which includes the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams featuring the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, cycling Grand Tours including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and the winter sports World Cup season.
Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will initially retain their separate brands and products before being brought together under a single brand in the future.
As part of the deal, customers who access BT Sport through BT directly, and the majority of BT TV customers, will gain access to the discovery+ streaming service which is home to Eurosport’s live and on-demand streaming offer in the UK & Ireland, as part of their existing subscriptions.
BT will receive £93m from Warner Bros. Discovery and up to approximately £540m by way of an earn-out from the JV, and Warner Bros. Discovery will be granted a Call Option over BT plc’s 50% holding in the JV, exercisable at specified points in the first four years of the JV.
The deal is subject to approvals by the relevant regulatory bodies and is expected to complete by the end of 2022. At completion, the production and operational assets of BT Sport will transfer to and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer division, said: “As a global sports and entertainment broadcaster Warner Bros. Discovery is the perfect partner to work with us to take BT Sport to the next stage of its growth.
“We’re excited to be joining forces to bring the best of BT Sport together with Eurosport UK to create a fantastic new sports offer alongside all the entertainment that discovery+ has to offer BT customers.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the established, creative and innovative broadcaster that BT Sport has become.
“We have a brilliant team who are dedicated to broadcasting amazing sporting moments and we look forward to working with Eurosport UK to realise the opportunities that this next stage will bring both our team and our viewers.”
Andrew Georgiou, President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe said “We are excited to bring fans a new premium sport offering that brings together everything they love from BT Sport and Eurosport UK.
“Combining this with our growing portfolio of premium entertainment content promises to deliver consumers a richer and deeper content proposition, not only providing greater value from their subscriptions but bringing sport to a wider entertainment audience.”