Sports streaming service DAZN is close to finalizing a deal to acquire BT Sport for an estimated $800 million, according to a new report from Reuters. BT Sport is consists of some of Brittain’s most valuable pay-TV sports channels and the deal would give DAZN access to English Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches, according to the report.
The DAZN deal hasn’t been finalized as of yet, as Discovery Inc was also interested in bidding for BT Sport as recently as December 2021. From the Reuters report:
“A deal is expected to be reached as soon as this month, after protracted negotiations that became public last fall, the sources said. The transaction has yet to be finalized and could still fall apart, they added.
Representatives of BT and DAZN declined to comment, as did those for Discovery INC (DISCA.O), which emerged as a rival bidder in December when discussions between BT and DAZN stalled.”
Discovery has a footprint in Europe after taking a 51% share of pan-European sports network Eurosports in 2014. By 2015, the company had a 100% stake in Eurosports and has since offered to form a joint venture with BT as an alternative to a sale, which was first reported by The Telegraph.
The Reuters report states that DAZN is still viewed as the favorite to acquire BT Sports but Discovery is still in discussions. Furthermore, the report states that securing agreements with right holders and distributors will be another obstacle when it comes to closing a deal.
BT Sport’s programming in Ireland and the U.K. are distributed by Comcast Corp’s Sky Group and Virgin Media. With Sky Sports being the dominant subscription TV sports brand in the U.K. and Ireland, it is arguably BT Sport’s biggest competitor. Around 5 million total viewing households watch BT Sport according to Enders Analysis, while Sky Sports reached a record of more than 14 million viewers on their best day.