BT Sport to become TNT Sports
February 22, 2023
By Colin Mann
TNT Sports will be the new name for the premium sports brand to be launched later in 2023 by the Joint Venture between BT Group and Warner Bros Discovery.
The pair say the new name heralds an important step in the previously announced plans to unite the collection of premium rights from BT Sport and Eurosport under a single offer in the future. In July 2023, TNT Sports will replace the BT Sport name and represents the start of a new journey and relationship with sports fans in the UK & Ireland that will continue the spirit of what BT Sport has built over the past decade.
This new sports brand in the UK and Ireland will be brought to life for the first time later in 2023 shortly before the start of 2023/2024 football season. Until then, fans will continue to enjoy BT Sport on all of the channels and platforms as they do currently.
“Today is another important step towards the launch of a simpler and even more compelling offering for sports fans in the UK and Ireland,” declared Andrew Georgiou, board member of the Joint Venture and President and Managing Director, Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe. “The TNT Sports name is already synonymous with premium live sport in a number of countries around the world and a further sign of the global scale and expertise that Warner Bros Discovery brings to its partnership with BT.”
“While Warner Bros Discovery is excited to contribute its global scale and capabilities, together with its growing portfolio of premium entertainment, we are also determined to ensure we don’t compromise on the inimitable, local style that is at the heart of the way BT Sport has connected with fans over the past decade. Remaining authentically local will remain key to our success.”
“We’re delighted with the progress being made on the joint venture,” added Marc Allera, CEO BT Consumer Division and Chairman of the Joint Venture with Warner Brothers Discovery. “This change marks the next logical step for BT Sport as well as the broader transformation of our Consumer business. Once launched this will become a hugely exciting new premium sports offering for customers in the UK and Ireland.”
While TNT Sports will have a dedicated brand for the UK and Ireland that reflects the fan-first approach for which BT Sport has become renowned, the name already has a strong association with premium live sport in other territories and under Warner Bros Discovery’s family of brands. This includes being home to top-level domestic and European football in a number of countries in Latin America, while live sport has been a long-time staple on the TNT network in the US, including the NBA, NHL and NCAA.
TNT Sports will present the live sports rights currently carried by BT Sport, while Eurosport in the UK and Ireland will continue to be available in the same way as it is today before being rolled into the new brand at some time in the future.
Shortly before the 2023/2024 football season, discovery+ will become the streaming home for sports fans who can enjoy a subscription that includes TNT Sports, Eurosport and entertainment in one destination. BT Sport subscribers already enjoy complimentary access to discovery+ which includes Eurosport’s streaming offer and wide range of entertainment programming.
Taken together, this provides one of the most extensive line-ups of live sports coverage for fans in the UK and Ireland – including the Olympic Games, the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Premiership Rugby, MotoGP, UFC, Boxing, WWE, tennis Grand Slams, cycling Grand Tours and the winter sports season.
The 50:50 BT and Warner Bros. Discovery Joint Venture was formed on September 1st 2022. Warner Bros Discovery manages the operation of the JV with the production and operational assets of BT Sport having transferred to the company on this date.
Paolo Pescatore, TMT Analyst at PP Foresight, described the development as a “clean slate” which promises to simplify the overall sports experience for fans in the long term. “There a numerous challenges in the short term of managing a multi-brand strategy which the new JV is fully aware of and will need to navigate carefully,” he added.
“Initially there will be resentment as it will feel like another sports brand entering the UK market in an increasingly fragmented world,” he suggested. “During a cost-of-living crisis this might give people a reason to cancel, hence all focus must be placed on positioning and adding greater value for sports fans as part of the Discovery+ umbrella.”
“Undoubtedly, there will be bumps in the journey,” he said. “Maintaining key sports rights will remain ever so important to help during this transition for the next couple of years.”
“Make no mistake; Warner Bros Discovery is driving the entity as BT takes another step closer towards distancing itself from the sports business,” he concluded.