More reports on: M&A, Telecom
BT Group in race to buy ESPN football rights: report news
18 February 2013

UK telecommunication giant BT Group Plc is in talks to acquire some of ESPN's football rights from Walt Disney Co, the Financial Times yesterday reported without citing sources.

ESPN, majority owned by Walt Disney is mulling an exit from the UK and plans to sell broadcast rights to certain matches from the German Bundesliga, the Europa League and the English FA Cup.

Apart from BT Group, satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group is also interested in buying these rights, said the paper.

Citing analysts, the report added acquiring the three rights together would cost about 20 million annually, but they noted how increased interest in sports rights from pay TV operators had driven up costs for content.

BT would be more interested to add these three channels to its portfolio since it putting final touches to its plans for launching its multi-platform sports TV service this year.

Ahead of this plan, BT last year acquired the rights to 32 Premier League football games for three years for 738 million ($1.18 billion) or about $394 million per season.

The London-based company has also acquired the rights to broadcast live Premiership rugby matches and WTA live tennis.

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BT Group in race to buy ESPN football rights: report