With the ever increasing price of going to see a football match, particularly for teams in the Premier League, demand for ways to watch it over broadcast TV, satellite TV or an Internet connection have proven popular and it was into this fray that BT Retail entered when it made to give it the rights to broadband live Premier League football in the UK.
Now ahead of the latest financial statement from the BT Group, there is the suggestion that BT Retail Infinity subscribers may get free access to the new BT Sports channel. The notional price for the BT Sport channel is expected to be £10 per month.
Sports packages are currently limited to the older BT Vision boxes, but with the forthcoming launch of the TV Connect service on the wholesale network, we may see this expanding to the newer YouView set-top boxes. As the launch of the BT Sport channel approaches, we should learn more about any wholesale deals that may allow people on other broadband providers or TV services to subscribe too.
BT Retail paid some £738 million for the rights to 38 matches per year for three years, but if it is able expand its retail customer base for broadband and telephone services in the face of the competition from Sky then it may be seen as money well spent, even if there is not much profit. Sky apparently spent £2.38 billion for the right to 154 Premier League games, which was a rise of 40% more than previously.
An interesting thought to end on, would be what the effect on the regulatory environment would be if BSkyB was to overtake BT Retail as the largest retail broadband provider in the United Kingdom.