The telecom giant has been ramping up competition with U.K. pay TV operator BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has a 39 percent stake.
BY STUART KEMP
LONDON — BT Sport has won exclusive TV rights to live German Bundesliga soccer in the U.K. and Ireland until 2017, following a competitive auction, the firm said Thursday.
The telecom giant has been ramping up competition with U.K. pay TV operator BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake.
The two-year contract, which kicks off Sept. 2015, gives BT Sport around 115 live matches a season from the German top-flight soccer league — 15 more matches than the current deal.
BT Sport will also have the rights to the annual German-league Supercup matches plus previews and highlights shows.
The Bundesliga adds to BT Sport’s lineup and coincides with the start of BT’s exclusive live rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League soccer.
BT won the exclusive live broadcast rights to all 350 matches from both tournaments. The rights run for three seasons from 2015/16. BT Sport already holds the current rights to show the Bundesliga exclusively live in the U.K.
For the remainder of the current season and next season, the channels will continue to show around 100 live matches, plus action from the DFL Supercup with previews and highlights shows.
The German top flight features current Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League holders Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “Our viewers have loved the opportunity to watch live matches involving some of the most outstanding teams in Europe and pitting charismatic managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp against each other.”
Jorg Daubitzer, managing director of DFL Sports Enterprises, said: “Bundesliga [soccer] is held in high regard at BT Sport, something that is not least of all reflected in the broad-based high-quality reporting it receives. Never before have so many Bundesliga matches been shown with such broad penetration in the United Kingdom. We are very pleased to be able to continue this successful cooperation.”
BT has just north of two-and-a-half million customers who have signed up for its BT Sport’s channel bouquet, and the channels reach more than four million homes when BT’s wholesale deal with Virgin Media is taken into account.
It is also the home for other top European league soccer, showing regular live matches from France’s Ligue1 and Italy’s Serie A.Programming across the three channels — BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN — also boasts 38 live and exclusive soccer matches from the Barclays Premier League.