BT seals deal with Sky to show Premier League football

BT is pushing ahead with plans to bring Premier League football to its customers after signing a wholesale deal with BSkyB for Sky Sports 1 and 2. Yet the telecoms giant is still keeping its pricing plans under wraps.

BT announced yesterday it had signed the contract three months after Ofcom, the media watchdog, demanded Sky slash the prices it charged rivals to show premium sport.

The move will allow BT customers to sign up from the beginning of August, a fortnight before the start of the Premier League season. Gavin Patterson, the chief executive of BT's retail arm, said he was delighted by the agreement. "We know our customers will be keen to sign up for the two channels."

Earlier this year, the group said it would offer Sky's sports content for as little as £15 a month. Insiders at its rivals suggested the decision not to announce prices yesterday signalled that the group "may have rowed back from that position".

Sources close to BT said the pricing would be announced this week and the package of Sports 1 and 2 as well as rival sports channel ESPN, would be available for less than £20 a month.

Ofcom ruled in March that Sky would have to cut its wholesale prices following lobbying from BT, Virgin Media, Top Up TV and Setanta Sports to break the group's grip on premium sports and movies. This followed a three-year investigation into the pay-TV market.

While Sky was furious over the regulator's intervention, its rivals were not delighted either, saying the remedies should have gone further.

Sky has lodged an appeal, but also agreed a compromise that would allow its rivals to show sport in the meantime. Currently, any platform wanting to show Sky Sports channels will still have to pay the full wholesale price. The difference with the prices set out by Ofcom will be put into escrow, pending the outcome of Sky's appeal. If the appeal fails, the companies will have the difference returned.

BT insiders admitted earlier this year that the decision to wholesale sports content is, in effect, a multimillion pound bet on Sky's failure to overturn the ruling by Ofcom.

At the moment, Virgin Media is the only company to wholesale Sky's sports content. Following Ofcom's announcement it revealed it was to cut the prices it charges.

Customers that take Virgin's basic TV package with all the Sky Sports channels and ESPN have had their monthly bill reduced from £43.50 to £40. Sky's basic package, plus all the sports channels and ESPN, is currently £45 a month. Rivals said the broadcaster was likely to come under pressure to cut costs.

Sky yesterday sweetened its sports package by offering subscribers free access to Sky Mobile TV and the online TV service Sky Player until the end of the year.

This will enable customers to watch sport on devices from their televisions, to smartphones, personal computers to the iPad and iPod Touch for free. Sky Mobile TV usually costs subscribers an additional £6 a month, while Sky Player us available with additional services such as Multiroom.

One source close to the group said the timing of the release on the same day as BT's was "coincidental".

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living