Monday, 30 July 2018

BT loses TV rights for 'ultimate fighting' and NBA basketball

BT is understood to have lost the rights to broadcast NBA basketball and UFC ultimate fighting after walking away from a bidding contest.

"We won't bid any more than the rights are worth to us," a spokesperson for the telecoms giant told the BBC.

The move comes weeks after BT lost the rights to Italian Serie A football.

The firm spends around £1bn a year on sports rights, such as Premier League and Champions League football, a sum which some investors have criticised.

BT's sports channels will continue to show NBA Basketball until the end of October and UFC until 3 December.

The loss means BT's sport channels will show fewer popular sports, but the firm's spokesperson said it was focusing on gaining more subscribers for its offering as well as "investing in more broadcast innovations."

They said the firm had "long-term deals in place for our core content" including "great football, rugby and boxing next season".

Marc Allera, head of BT Consumer, told the Financial Times that the strategy for BT Sport - which launched five years ago - had moved on from its initial "emotionally driven start-up mentality".

"It's like a big football club in the transfer window. If a striker is worth £50m I won't pay £70m for him. At the wrong price, everything is expendable," he said.

BBC       News.

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