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BT Sport to launch “FTA version”

John Petter, head of BT’s consumer division, has revealed that the company plans to launch a FTA version of BT Sport.

Since its launch in August 2013 BT Sport has been free for its broadband subscribers, while other viewers pay £13.50 a month. However, the arrival of the Champions League and Europa League, which is costing the company £897 million over three years, means BT Sport will no longer be free from next season.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Petter commented: “It will be a very reasonable price. And some games will be free as well. There’ll be a free-to-air version of BT Sport.”

He continued:  “Sports that go exclusively pay-TV are not good for the long-term health of any sport because you narrow the base over time. We can bring something here through a model that doesn’t depend on such high subscription fees, that gives the sport access to a very large viewership through free-to-air. This, combined with a low pay threshold, is potentially a good model to adopt for sustainability in the long term.”

Speaking on his perceived success of BT Sport, Petter said: “What we set out to do was give sport back to the people because, relative to other markets, the take up of premium sports in the UK has been low. Around half the five million households that view BT Sport did not watch any premium sport before our entry into the market in 2013. Our proportion of viewers under 25 is noticeably higher than for either Sky Sports or Eurosport. We are now the biggest sports channel in the nation’s pubs and clubs, which were previously being choked by the high prices demanded by Sky.”

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