BT Sport takes aim at Sky

Telecoms giant BT will offer two new sport channels and ESPN free for the first year to customers who use its broadband products it has announced. Sky customers who don't have BT broadband can pay £15 per month to receive the channels in HD.

BT claims the move will “return sport to grassroots fans”, and said it would be “the first time in more than 20 years that weekly live matches from the Barclays Premier League will be free to watch”.

Content promised includes 38 live and exclusive football matches from the Barclays Premier League, including 18 of the top fixtures chosen by BT, and up to 69 live rugby matches from the Aviva Premiership, where BT will be the sole broadcaster. Football coverage also includes leagues from Germany, France, Italy and Brazil, FA Cup ties, the UEFA Europa League, Scottish Premier League, while other sports are represented by WTA women’s tennis, MotoGP and action from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Pundits and commentators who have signed up for the new service include: Rio Ferdinand, Jake Humphreys, Claire Balding, Ray Stubbs, Michael Owen and David James.

Ian Livingston, BT chief executive said: "UK Sports fans have had a rough deal for too long. Many have been priced out of the market but we will change this by giving away BT Sport for free with our broadband.”.

He continued "BT is the home of broadband so the fight for customers will now take place on our own turf. BT Sport will complement our world class fibre network. Customers don’t have to take BT Infinity to get BT Sport but we are encouraging them to move onto fibre broadband so they can enjoy the best of both worlds.”

Access to the broadband service will require a set-top box, either from YouView or Vision+ box for BT TV, both of which are available via BT. After the first year, BT Sport will cost £3 per month to BT customers.

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