BT Sport muscles Sky out of FA Cup with £100m deal

BT Sport has secured the rights to televise The FA Cup from 2014-2018 after teaming up with the BBC to outbid a competing joint offer from Sky and ITV.

 BT Sport muscles Sky out of FA Cup with £100m deal
BT Sport muscles Sky out of FA Cup with £100m deal

BT Sport is already due to show live matches from The FA Cup for the upcoming 2013-14 season, having acquired the rights from ESPN.

The new four-year contract announced today means the BT Sport service will now host the FA Cup for the next five years.

According to sources, BT Sport is believed to have paid in the region of £25 million per year for up to 25 FA Cup games – depending on any replays. The £100 million investment in the four year contract is believed to have been higher than the one tabled by rival Sky.

BT Sport’s new terrestrial partner, the BBC, has not secured as many games but has more FA Cup top picks, and is believed to have paid in the region of £100m - £120m for their part of the package.

A BT Sport spokesperson said: "We have it for five years now and fully intend to invest in it. When you think back to the 80s and 90s, the FA Cup used to be the blue-ribbon event, we firmly believe that through our partnership with the BBC we can help restore it to its pinnacle. the previous partnership between ITV and ESPN was attracting around 30 million viewers, we expect to be able to build on that."

Jake Humphrey will lead BT Sport’s coverage from the company’s new studios in the Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford, London.

New FA chairman, Greg Dyke, noted: "BT Sport might be new to television but they’re a major corporation and have been a part of everyday British life for a number of decades.
 
"They have millions of customers and are shaping up to be a heavyweight player in the broadcasting world so The FA Cup is a fantastic asset for their growing portfolio of sports."

Today’s FA Cup win is the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between newcomer BT Sport and established pay TV leader Sky.

BT Sport’s football coverage includes 38 Premier League games, Europa League, SPL, Bundesliga, MLS and Football Conference. Elsewhere, the service has also secured the rights to Aviva Premiership rugby, UFC, WTA tennis and MotoGP.

The deal is also being celebrated at the BBC, which lost the FA Cup rights in 2008.

In coverage led by Gary Lineker, the BBC is promising to bring together the tradition and heritage of The FA Cup with the technological innovation BBC audiences have come to expect.

All of the FA Cup action, including live streams, will be made available across the BBC’s TV, online, mobile and tablet services.
 
BBC Director-General, Tony Hall said: "Bringing the FA Cup back to the BBC was something I really wanted to do and I am so pleased that we have achieved it for football fans everywhere.  

"There is something very special about big national moments on the BBC and the FA Cup should absolutely be one of them.  

"The Olympics, Wimbledon and Glastonbury have shown how our audiences love it when we put the full weight of all our services on TV, radio and digital behind covering these events in depth and in ways no one else can.  

"Working closely with the FA I believe we will change the way we view the FA Cup forever."

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Retail: said: "BT Sport made a determined joint bid to retain The FA Cup rights because we believe it is one of the truly great club football competitions.

"We are thrilled to bring our viewers the incredible stories of passion, and victories against all odds, that pepper the history of the competition. These include Leeds United being humbled by Second Division Sunderland in the 1973 final, right up to May this year, when unfancied Wigan Athletic defeated Manchester City at Wembley.

"We will be fielding a superb line-up of presenting talent to showcase and analyse all of the action. And because BT Sport is free with BT broadband on BT TV, online or via satellite we are confident that we can reach a large audience rapidly."

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