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BT Sport launches Sign Up deaf initiative

December 21, 2022

By Nik Roseveare

BT Sport is launching Sign Up a new initiative that aims to raise the profile of the deaf community within sport, help make its programming accessible to all, and create new opportunities.

Kicking off on December 26th, BT Sport has teamed up with Premier League players and managers to guide viewers through the letters of the British Sign Language (BSL) alphabet to promote and destigmatise the use of BSL among the public. The series will allow everyone to get to grips with the basics of BSL, and features the likes of Joe Cole, Jack Grealish and Jurgen Klopp.

On January 6th on BT Sport 1, the first episode of new series, Deaf Away Days will premiere. Produced with Signpost Productions, the series follows deaf brothers, Marios and Memnos Costi, as they visit some of the biggest sporting events in the UK including rugby, football and track cycling. The Costi brothers represented Team GB in Deaf football and futsal but will now trade their boots for a seat in the stands to show off their Deaf Away Days.

Sign Up continues in 2023 with New Signing, the BT Sport initiative, supported by EE, to spotlight disability football on and off the pitch, as well as to provide the resources to provide more visibility for BSL. New Signing will provide two BSL commentators or presenters with an opportunity to train up with BT Sport so that they can sign at some of the biggest BT Sport football games next season, including the FA Disability Cup 2023. The first of a new series documenting the new BSL presenters’ journey with BT Sport will air on February 3rd.

BT Sport worked with Ruth Montgomery to create a soundtrack for all Sign Up content. Montgomery is a deaf, classically trained musician who helps to bring music to the deaf community through her organisation Audiovisability.

Jamie Hindhaugh, head of BT Sport, said: “Sport should be for everybody and there should be no barriers stopping anyone from accessing it. At BT Sport, with the help of our partners, we’re taking steps to provide better accessibility in sport through Sign Up. Through New Signing, Deaf Away Days and our BSL Alphabet campaigns, we aim to help our deaf viewers enjoy sport more than ever and help raise awareness.”

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