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Report: DAZN ‘in advanced talks’ to purchase BT Sport

Nine-figure deal could be reached within weeks, according to the Financial Times.

22 September 2021 Ed Dixon

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  • BT confirmed in April it was in talks over sale of its sports network
  • DAZN chairman Kevin Mayer recently acknowledged BT Sport as a possible route to the Premier League
  • Pay-TV broadcaster Sky would have to approve deal

Sports streaming subscription service DAZN is in advanced talks to acquire UK pay-TV broadcaster BT Sport, according to the Financial Times (FT).

The newspaper reports that negotiations over the price and a licensing agreement are ongoing, but adds that a deal potentially worth hundreds of millions of pounds could be reached within weeks.

Telecommunications giant BT confirmed in April that it was in talks with several parties over a potential sale of its sports network, in order to focus on the telco and 5G arms of its business. Commercial broadcaster ITV was among those linked with a deal.

Kevin Mayer, the chairman of DAZN, reiterated earlier this month that the over-the-top (OTT) service would be interested in securing domestic rights to the Premier League, which BT Sport is slated to broadcast until the end of the 2024/25 season. Mayer also reportedly added that one route to English soccer’s top flight could “possibly” be through an acquisition of BT Sport.

Should DAZN secure an agreement, it would also add cricket, rugby union and Australian rules football rights to its UK portfolio.

The company’s own recent major rights deals include a three-year contract worth over €2.5 billion (US$2.9 billion) for domestic rights to Italian soccer’s top-tier Serie A, as well as a five-year tie-up to be the global home of Matchroom Boxing.

DAZN’s purchase of BT Sport would also mark the entry of another major player in the Premier League domestic rights picture, after Amazon Prime Video joined Sky and BT when it first secured a package back in June 2018.

The FT notes, however, that DAZN’s deal is complicated due to a cross-licensing agreement that BT has with Sky, meaning the latter has to approve the sale. The report states that the two companies have held talks over a potential change in ownership.

BT could also still decide instead to partner with another sports broadcaster or keep the business in-house, according to the FT.

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