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BT Sport set to reignite the broadband and TV sports wars

BT today released details of the long awaited BT Sports TV proposition. The brand new sports channels launch on 1st August, although customers can pre-order from today (10th May) and receive 1 year's free upgrade to a HD subscription.

By on May 10, 2013 at 09:59 AM
BT Sport set to reignite the broadband and TV sports wars
  • BT set to bundle BT Sport for free with BT broadband combined with a price reduction which could prove a compelling combination

  • BT Sport on BT TV is a harder sell as Sky Sports is so well entrenched in TV households

  • You can sign up to BT Sports from today (10th May 2013) and receive a free upgrade to HD subscription for a year, the services are going live from 1st August

BT is set to offer the confused consumer yet more alternatives in the already crowded broadband, home phone and digital TV market. Here is our take on what BT Sport offers and what it means for consumers.


As Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Simplifydigital, comments:

"The launch of BT Sport represents a huge investment by BT to break into the lucrative TV sports market and does offer the consumer yet more attractive alternatives when it comes to choosing their home broadband and entertainment package."

What is BT Sport?

The BT Sport pack contains two brand new sports channels: BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 2 as well the existing sports channel ESPN. The sports line up currently announced consists of:

  • Barclays Premier League.38 exclusively live Barclays Premier League matches, including 18 top picks.Sky still have the stronger offer, as customers have access to a far greater number of exclusive Premier League matches (116).
  • Aviva Rugby Premiership.All 69 live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches only on BT Sport.
  • FA Cup with Budweiser on ESPN.25 exclusively live matches, plus the FA Cup final.
  • Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League.30 exclusively live Scottish Premier League matches plus 10 Rangers matches from the Scottish Football League.
  • UEFA Europa League.Live coverage of up to 176 UEFA Europa League matches.
  • Football from around the world.Hundreds of top-flight league football matches from around the world, including Italy, Germany, France, Brazil and the US.
  • Women's Tennis Association.Live coverage from 21 global tournaments, including the season-ending WTA Tour Championships.
  • Moto GP.Exclusive live rights to all the Moto GP races of the season from 2014.


How can I get BT Sport?

There are 3 ways to access BT Sport:

  1. On the Sky digital satellite platform. Existing Sky customers can add BT Sport to their subscription at a cost of £12 a month (£15 for HD) plus a one off activation fee of £15. One month minimum term. This is £1 cheaper than ESPN currently is. If you have BT broadband, it's free
  2. On BT TV which is available with BT Infinity (BT's fibre-optic broadband service).
  3. On the BT Sports app or online player, which you can stream to your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. BT have not been able to confirm yet whether Sky customers will get access to the BT app or online player even if they pay for the BT Sport TV channels.

BT Sport is currently not available on Virgin Media or TalkTalk TV.


What are the new BT broadband and BT Sport bundles?

All BT broadband and phone bundles will include access to the BT Sports app and online player for free. Prices and contract lengths have been reduced.


BT's base package, BT Broadband & Weekend Calls -was £6.50 for 3 months and £13 thereafter. This is now just £10 per month with a 12 month contract (previously 18 months).


BT Infinity (BT's fibre-optic broadband service)will also include BT Sport for free combined with a price reduction. BT Infinity 1 was £9 for 3 months and £18 thereafter. This is now just £15 per month with a12 month contract (previously 18 months).


Simplifydigital commentary

It's interesting that BT seemed to have initially pitched BT Sport as a key weapon in the broadband market, rather than a competing TV service to Sky. So the new BT sport channels will be made available to all BT Broadband customers for free in conjunction with an attractive price reduction.

As Charlie Ponsonby, comments: "BT has made a very bold move, offering BT Sport free to its broadband customers in conjunction with a significant price reduction. This suddenly makes the traditionally more expensive BT broadband packages an enticing alternative to the budget broadband deals on the market."

"BT already accounts for the majority of sales in the UK broadband market and this performance is likely to improve further following the BT Sport launch. Basic BT broadband is now only £4 per month more expensive than the budget alternatives, but will come with the bonus of free BT Sport which is normally retailed at £12 per month…"

The BT Sport TV proposition seems less likely to move the market. BT Vision has not been particularly successful in the past and the addition of BT Sports - which still lacks the lions' share of sports content (that remains on Sky Sports) - is unlikely to entice many Sky Sports viewers.

As Charlie Ponsonby comments: "Sky do sports on TV extremely well and Sky Sports still offers the great majority of premium sports content in the UK. As such, BT Sport does not seem to be strong enough yet to make a material difference to the TV sports balance of power in the UK".


BT Sport the small print

BT Sport - Available 1 Aug. BT broadband customers can watch BT Sport online at home with a minimum line speed of 400kbps. To watch BT Sport online elsewhere you need 3G/4G/wifi (charges may apply). To watch BT Sport at you need Microsoft Silverlight. The BT Sport App works on iPhone (3GS and above), iPad (iOS 5.1.1 and above) & selected Android devices with OS 4.0). BT Sport is also available on the Sky Digital Satellite Platform and BT TV with Infinity for new and existing broadband customers who sign up for 12 months or have 12 months remaining on their contract; ongoing renewal needed to get at a BT Sport at a discount. Sport on BT TV requires compatible box, fee £49-£299 may apply. Sky box and active viewing card required. e-billing required. UK only. Terms apply. Please check for details.HD TV pack usual price is £3 a month. Requires HD ready TV & cabling; Sky customers need a black Sky box. Terms apply.

N.B Customers ordering before 1st August get free HD for a year - a saving of £36 over the first year.


About Simplifydigital

Simplifydigital offers a unique broadband, TV and phone "Switching Support" service, with friendly UK based experts on-hand seven days a week to provide answers all your questions in plain English; find the best deal available at your address (from all the top UK providers); and be there to help make sure that the installation and set-up goes smoothly.

It is accredited by Ofcom as impartial and transparent, and on average saves customers £295 pa by finding them better deals.

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