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BT Group and Virgin strike 3-year sports channel deal

  • BT (BT -0.3%) signs a 3-year wholesale deal with Virgin Media to provide its sports channels to Virgin's subscribers. Customers with Virgin's top television package will receive the channels for free, while those with lower-tier packages will have to pay £15/month.
  • The agreement improves the competitive position of both companies in a marketplace dominated by Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB. BT will triple its BT Sport audience in a single stroke by adding Virgin's 2M highest-paying subscribers. Virgin Media will hold the unique position of being the only pay TV provider that offers both BT and BSkyB's sports channels under one subscription.
  • BT has refused to strike a similar deal with BSkyB. In Aug., British regulator Ofcom rejected BT's request to force BSkyB into wholesaling its own sports channels. Ofcom will conclude a full investigation by late 2013.
  • Previous: BT bolsters broadband unit, challenges BSkyB with sports channels
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