BT is to undercut the pricing of Sky Sports subscriptions for the £300 million (€370m) pubs market. In response, BT has already offered some large pub chains discounts on its subs, which can often run to thousands of pound per venue, according to the FT.
Pub and club subscriptions bring in between £200 million and £300 million for Sky annual revenues. Many publicans have criticised Sky’s ‘arrogant’ attitude as it has consistently raised prices and rigorously enforced its copyright.
BT rejected a wholesale agreement with Sky to show its pubs sports as part of the wider Sky Sports broadcast, and will sell to pub customers directly on Sky’s own platform over two channels. BT will sell subsidised satellite dishes and boxes to pubs and clubs that do not already have the Sky equipment. BT estimates that about a fifth of pubs do not show any sport, while about a third of pubs show Sky Sports.
Bruce Cuthbert, director for commercial customers at BT Sport, said that the service would be “substantially cheaper” than Sky subscriptions, which are based on business rates.
Cuthbert said that BT sports would be a “lighter” product to appeal to pubs that want a little extra but not pay for the full Sky package. “There is a market that previously has not had sports.”
BSkyB told the FT: “For more than a year now – and pre-dating the purchase by BT of any rights – our strategy has been to extend our reach into a broader range of outlets via additional pricing options, and to deepen our relationships with existing customers with the rollout of WiFi and great events like the forthcoming Ashes Series.”
BT has the first pick of 18 Premier League games – as well as 28 games at Saturday lunchtime.