BT Sport and ESPN have signed a seven-year agreement to expand the range of ESPN content on BT Sport. The agreement also covers the use of the ESPN brand and potential joint digital media initiatives. The new long-term collaboration builds on the successful relationship between both brands following the acquisition of ESPN’s UK and Ireland television business by BT in 2013.
As part of the new deal, BT Sport has the opportunity to use the ESPN brand in a range of different ways with ESPN remaining part of the BT Sport channel line-up for the long-term. The deal will see BT Sport expand the amount of programming it receives from ESPN, up to 5,000 hours per year. Among a wide range of content, programming supplied during the course of the agreement will typically feature the Verizon IndyCar Series, NCAA College Football and Basketball, X Games, the AFL (Australian Football League) and more. There is also enhanced availability of existing content supplied by ESPN, such as the Emmy Award-winning ESPN Films documentary series, plus the introduction to BT Sport of world football show ESPN FC, and some of the most well-known brands in US sport television including Pardon The Interruption and Around The Horn.
In the months ahead, BT and ESPN will continue to explore ways the two companies can collaborate around various digital media initiatives. Additional elements to the deal include the ability for BT Sport to take in key ESPN-supplied programming directly to its studios in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, handing greater flexibility and efficiencies to both parties.
John Petter, chief executive, BT Consumer, said that continuing with ESPN, one of the world’s leading sports brands, as part of the BT Sport portfolio was a win for its viewers, its partners and sport fans in the UK and Ireland. “Our relationship with ESPN since BT Sport began operation of the ESPN channel in the UK and Ireland has been a big success, with the two companies collaborating on a number of initiatives,” he noted.
Charly Classen, vice president and general manager, ESPN – Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “ESPN continues to be a key part of the UK sports landscape through the channel and content in the BT Sport lineup, as well as our successful and growing digital and content sales business in the region. We’re thrilled with what has been a unique and successful collaboration with BT Sport over the past couple years, and are excited it will continue and expand over the long term, delivering great content and service to UK sports fans.”