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Discovery Beats DAZN to the Punch, Close to $800 Million Deal with BT to Create Sports Rights JV in the UK

BT Sport
(Image credit: BT Sport)

Discovery Inc. said it has entered exclusive talks with BT Group to create a new UK sports programming joint venture that would essentially combine the forces of Eurosport UK and and BT Sport.

The proposed JV would combine portfolios of expensive rights deals, which include the OIympics, soccer's Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, cycling's Grand Tours, tennis' Grand Slams and Premiership Rugby. 

Discovery reportedly disrupted plans from UK-based sports-streaming giant DAZN to acquire BT Sports. Published reports value JV deal at around $800 million. Discovery also said the JV could be up and running this year. 

“We are excited about this opportunity with BT Group to offer consumers a stronger and simplified combined sport offering in the U.K. and Ireland, and, more broadly, to advance our strategy of bringing sports and entertainment to more consumers on the platform of their choice,” said JB Perrette, president & CEO of Discovery streaming and international. “We are aligned with BT Group on a shared vision to maximize the value and appeal of our respective UK sport assets, and we look forward to concluding a deal in the coming weeks.”   

Discovery acquired Eurosport in 2014 and said the unit now serves 130,000 subscribers in more than 200 markets. 

The conglomerate announced the BT Sports talks on the same day that European regulators approved its $43 billion merger with Warner Media. 

Daniel Frankel
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!