BT’s Premier League; no score

Last week BT committed to pay £738 million for a total of 114 English Premier League (EPL) football matches, to be screened over a 3 year period. Now the back-room number-crunchers have looked closely at the deal, and one investment banker says BT is most unlikely to make money from the deal.

Bankers at Espirito Santo did give credit to BT’s own comments that the matches would act as a “calling card” for its other services, and help stem the churn of BT customers to BSkyB and Virgin Media.

However, Espirito Santo’s report for clients (“Not so Premier League”) revealed that BT will be paying around £95-£100 million additionally for production costs on the games, and while the deal delivered “strong potential top-line benefits” to BT and would be seen as strengthening BT’s position in the TV market, the overall deal came at “considerable cost” to BT.

At the end of the day the bankers also questioned whether BT would be able to match the quality and quantity of its EPL coverage with that of BSkyB, which has extensive pre-match, post-match and news coverage of its games. Besides, implied the bank, BT will probably end up having to offer its exclusive games to BSkyB for economic reasons.

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