Mass media giant Warner Bros. Discovery Inc and telecom behemoth BT Group plc have reportedly unveiled a premium sports venture in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The strategic 50-50 joint venture (JV) will enable BT Sport’s shift to Warner Bros. Discovery. This means that Eurosport U.K. and BT Sport will operate together.
BT plc, the parent company of BT Sport, will get USD 113 million from Warner Bros. Discovery and close to USD 659 million through an earn-out if all conditions are fulfilled.
Warner Bros. Discovery will receive a call option over BT Group’s interest in the new enterprise. It might implement this at certain points in the first four years of the enterprise.
The new venture will possess one of the most decorated portfolios of premium sporting rights including the Premier League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League, UFC, Premiership Rugby, the Olympic Games, cycling Grand Tours including Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, tennis Grand Slams Roland-Garros and the Australian Open along with the winter sports World Cup.
Initially, Eurosport U.K. and BT Sport will retain their independent product propositions and brands before being consolidated under a single brand. However, it is still unclear when this might happen.
As part of their current subscriptions, consumers who directly access BT Sport via BT and most BT TV consumers will obtain Discovery+, the non-fiction infotainment streaming service which houses Eurosport’s on-demand and live streaming offer in Ireland and the U.K.
As of March 31st, 2022, the value of transferred gross assets of BT Sport was USD 413.98 million (£339 million). It registered an operational loss of USD 271.1 million (£222 million).
Warner Bros. Discovery and BT plc will each sign distribution agreements with the joint venture to become the official distributor of the JV’s sports channels in the UK across both platforms.