How much will BT spend?
Last week BT pulled off one of the more audacious sporting rights coups of recent years. Its successful premiership rights bid blindsided the marketing and media community who had largely assumed that the rights would go to the usual suspects.
But… and there’s always a but, securing the rights is just the first step in an incredibly expensive sporting adventure.
BT has agreed to pay £246m per season for 38 live matches. Excluding injury time, that boils down to nearly £72,000 per minute of live football.
Now, in addition to this chunky payment, they have to find the budget to establish a channel and all the cash-heavy infrastructure that accompanies such an endeavor.
This includes meeting all the legal and regulatory requirements to get a channel on air. Then they need cameras and camera operators, outside broadcast facilities, production and editing, high-profile hosts for their programme and super slick advertising sales teams.
Even assuming that BT can lease or piggy-back existing Sky/BBC resources, they’re still looking at multiple millions of additional pounds per year just to get the matches on-air.
With just 720,000 BT Vision subscribers, this is a confident power-play for BT – a bet that the broadcast landscape is on the cusp of transformation and a bet that BT can afford to wage on the back of a 42% increase of year-on-year profit to £2.4bn.