Reports this week suggest that streaming service DAZN is on the verge of buying BT Sport for what could end up being a nine-figure sum.
The move is set to send ripples across the media, telecoms and sports worlds, setting a new benchmark for sports rights, as well as turning the spotlight onto the ways media and telco companies can attract and retain customers today. So, what does YouGov data tell us about the potential move?
When BT Sport was originally launched in 2013, it was made available free to BT’s broadband customers and widely perceived as a way of shoring up the parent company’s lucrative position as an internet provider. And indeed, if we look at BT Broadband’s customer base today, you can see that current customers of BT Sport (defined as those who have watched the channels in the past 30 days) are more than twice as likely to be a BT Broadband customer as those who are not (35.8% vs 17.5%).
Perhaps BT would have been more inclined to keep hold of its asset had it won a bigger market share over the years but BT Sport has lagged behind Sky Sports over the last 12 months, even as the sports fixture list has returned to normal. Currently, 8.2% of consumers say they have watched BT Sport in the past 30 days, compared to 12.9% who say they’ve watched Sky Sports.
Nevertheless, the sale is likely to suit all parties. DAZN will sweep up all of BT Sport’s hard-won sports rights, giving the streamer a strong foothold in a market that has so far been tough for it to crack. According to data from YouGov Profiles, 18% of the public now use streaming services as a way to follow live sport, making the UK sports streaming market ripe for an experienced outfit like DAZN.
Meanwhile, BT will walk away with money which it will invest in its telco and 5G businesses. But perhaps happiest of all will be Sky Sports, who will have seen off yet another competitor for its place at the top of the sports broadcasting tree – it’s reported that because of cross-licensing agreements, it will even be asked to sign off on the deal.