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Sport ITV 'could have free-to-air Premier League games if they buy BT Sport'

16:11  30 april  2021
16:11  30 april  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Thiago Silva, Karim Benzema are posing for a picture: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

ITV is reportedly among the frontrunners to buy BT Sport which could see Premier League and Champions League matches broadcast on free-to-air TV.

BT confirmed this week that they are in negotiations to sell a stake in their sports business BT Sport with Amazon, Disney and DAZN all said to be interested.

ITV belongs to the chasing pack, according to The Telegraph, and should the British channel be successful some of England's top-flight matches and Champions League ties could be shown on terrestrial television.

a man with a football ball on a field: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a group of people posing for a photo: BT's Champions League package was a three-year, £1.2billion deal until 2024, giving them the UK rights to every game in the competition © Provided by Daily Mail BT's Champions League package was a three-year, £1.2billion deal until 2024, giving them the UK rights to every game in the competition

In a statement on Thursday, BT said: 'Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth.

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'The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.'

After the announcement BT shares rose 2.5 per cent, or 3.95p, to 163.8p – their highest level since January 2020.

It is not known how much BT Sport is worth. However, after years of losses, it is said to have broken even and become profitable thanks to price hikes.

BT, Britain's biggest broadband and mobile operator, moved into sports broadcasting in 2012 when it won the rights to show a package of live Premier League matches.

It later added the Champions League - after winning the rights from Sky Sports - and other sports such as rugby union to the service to take on Sky, the dominant player in British sports broadcasting.

BT's current Premier League package, which cost them £885million, allows them to show 32 matches for three seasons from 2019-20. Their Champions League package was a three-year, £1.2billion deal until 2024, giving them the UK rights to every game in the competition.

Premier League 'will expel clubs who try to join future Super League'

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Premier League chiefs are ready to keep their current big-money TV deal rolling into next season with negotiations on a new long-term contract from 2022-23 set to be put on hold, according to reports.

Top-flight fixtures are currently shared between BT Sport, Sky and Amazon - while the BBC has also shown live games during the pandemic - and the announcement of rights from 2022-23 would typically have been revealed by this point.

a woman hitting a ball with a racket: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

But as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the return of large crowds due to the relaxing of lockdown measures, The Mirror claim talks have already been held to extend the terms in place at this point for another 12 months.

The coronavirus pandemic initially placed talks over the rights on hold but, with the new term fast approaching, preparations are now underway to ensure a smooth transition for broadcasters.

BT, however, is now focused on an ambitious plan to roll out fibre broadband to 20 million homes and businesses this decade, which will require billions of pounds of investment.

The move to sell all or part of BT Sport goes against BT's ambitious bid to build a sports broadcasting business to take on Sky over the last decade.

The company has spent billions to establish itself, signing deals to show a number of sports including UFC, boxing, MotoGP and Australian rules football.

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