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Amazon, Disney and DAZN reportedly circled BT Sport sale – Deadline

Amazon, Disney and sports streamer DAZN are said to be circling a sale of BT Sport, the UK broadcaster that owns the rights to top-rated sporting events including the Premier League and Champions League.

The Daily Telegraph reported British telecoms giant BT on Wednesday night hired investment bank Lazard to explore a partial sale of its sports TV arm as the £ 16bn ($ 22bn) company focuses more on broadband . The Financial Times too corroborated the story.

Thursday morning, BT confirmed the plans. In a statement, he said: “Following media reports, BT can confirm that preliminary discussions are underway with a number of selected strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, to strengthen our sport business. and help it take the next step in its growth. Discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to a result. “

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The Telegraph said BT is in talks with Amazon, Disney and Disney over the sale. He added that an unnamed UK broadcaster is also eyeing BT Sport, which has become an established part of the UK television landscape and a real rival to Sky since its launch in 2013.

DAZN is said to be “the most passionate” on BT Sport, a source told The Telegraph. The sports streamer, funded by billionaire Len Blavatnik and chaired by former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, has become a disruptive force in the sports arena. Only last month he beat Sky to exclusive Serie A rights in Italy and has already expressed interest in Premier League televising.

A sale of BT Sport will not be easy, however. One wonders about the value of sports rights in the midst of the pandemic, while it remains a precarious activity, with broadcasters at the mercy of rights holders like the Premier League. Disney knows this well after its unsuccessful attempt to establish ESPN in the UK, with BT Sport ultimately replacing the broadcaster after defeating it to Premier League rights in 2012.

The Premier League is currently in talks to skip another UK TV rights auction and extend existing contracts with Sky, Amazon and BT Sport, according to multiple reports. Under these plans, Sky, Amazon and BT Sport could retain their rights until 2025 on the same terms they currently enjoy.

Amazon and Disney declined to comment. DAZN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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