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BT interested in ESPN's football rights


BT is in discussions to acquire football rights from sports broadcaster ESPN as the Disney-owned channel explores an exit from the UK.   The rights that are available include matches from the Bundesliga, Europa League and FA Cup.   However, BSkyB is also interested.

BT has already spent nearly £1bn on acquiring sports content.   Last summer it paid £738m for the rights to 32 Premier League games per season for three years in a move that puts it into direct competition with BSkyB.   It is estimated that acquiring the three additional rights together would cost about £20m a year.

BT will sell its sports content directly to Sky users having secured channels on its rival's platform.   It has also begun to talk to Virgin Media about selling its sports content on a wholesale basis.   Even with a wholesale model, analysts expect the TV channel to be loss making during the next five years on its own, although the strategy for BT is to bundle the TV service with its home phone and broadband packages.