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BT recruits YouTube and TalkTalk to boost sport audience

BT sport crew

UK pay TV provider BT will stream the finals of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League on video platform YouTube, reports TBI Vision.

A deal with the Google-owned aggregator will see the Freeview BT Sport Showcase channel streamed and made available to non-paying viewers.

The Champions League final, which is European club football’s biggest game, sees two teams from the Spanish capital, Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid, facing off on May 28. Ten days before that, England’s Liverpool plays another Spanish team, Sevilla, in the Europe League final.

“We’ve always said we wanted to give top quality sport back to the people and making the UEFA Champions League and Europa League finals free to everyone in the UK does this in a big way,” said BT Consumer chief executive John Petter.

YouTube’s senior director, EMEA, and former Sky executive, Stephen Nuttall, said football was the platform’s most-viewed sport, with more than 300 clubs, 37 leagues and various channels providing content.

BT Sport launched three years ago as the first serious competitor to premium sports provider Sky, and has gone on to snap up Champions League and English Premier League games. BT claims around five million subscribers for its sports networks.

BT said the YouTube deal represented a wider digital strategy that includes allowing 4GEE customers of its mobile subsidiary EE access to premium network BT Sport in time for the 2016/17 Premier League season. Pricing details were not announced.

Earlier this week, BT Sport was made available to TalkTalkTV subscribers. “Enabling our customers to subscribe to BT Sport, alongside our existing sports packages, continues our ongoing efforts to become the go-to destination for sport and entertainment,” said Aleks Habdank of TalkTalk TV. “The big appeal is choice and flexibility; people enjoy having flexible access to a huge range of free and paid-for content, without being tied into a lengthy subscription.”

Rival premium sport provider Sky seemingly looked to counter this news with an announcement of its own today, claiming it showed 49 of the 50 most watched Premier League matches this season. “No one will ever forget this season and Sky Sports has offered the complete story from start to finish,” said Gary Hughes, head of football for Sky Sports. “Sky Sports is the first choice for football fans, and things are only going to get better next season with even more matches, even more top picks and even more drama.”

BT crashed into the UK original content space last August when it secured exclusive distribution of AMC locally, meaning US cable hit Fear the Walking Dead would only available to its subscribers.

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