- Legal States
Erik Gibbs February 4, 2022 2 min read
DAZN Loses Shot at BT Sport, Discovery Becomes Best Suitor
DAZN has struck out. The sports streaming broadcaster was set to acquire BT Sport and, even as recently as Wednesday, it appeared everything was still on track. However, BT Group, BT Sport’s parent company, threw a curveball. Discovery, the global broadcaster behind its namesake channel, Eurosport and more, was already on deck. It has apparently hit a home run.
DAZN Loses Shot at BT Sport
Discovery Inc. reported that it entered exclusive talks for a joint venture in the UK to produce a new sports programming program. It would essentially combine Eurosport UK with BT Sport. The proposed JV would combine portfolios containing expensive rights deals. These include the Olympics, to which Discovery already holds the broadcasting rights in Europe.
Discovery reportedly scuttled plans by DAZN to acquire BT Sports. Publications estimate that the JV deal will be worth around $800 million. Discovery claimed that the JV could start operating by next year.
JB Perrette, president & CEO of Discovery streaming, said that the partnership with BT Group will allow consumers to have a simplified and stronger combined sport offering in the UK, Ireland, and more. He added, “We are aligned with BT Group on a shared vision to maximize the value and appeal of our respective UK sports assets, and we look forward to concluding a deal in the coming weeks.”
Discovery Continues Global Expansion into Sports
Discovery acquired Eurosport in 2014. It now has 130,000 subscribers in more than 200 markets. Although contracts for the new partnership have not yet been signed, BT stated that it plans to close them in April.
No price was disclosed, but it was reported that DAZN offered $800 million to purchase BT Sport. That would imply Discovery’s offer was possibly greater, but it is still much lower than most acquisition deals being floated in the sports broadcasting arena.
BT initially set out to take on Sky, but what resulted was a turf war that allowed leagues like the Premier League to command higher prices for broadcasting rights. This drove the value of BT down as it continued to try to increase its domination. In the end, it spent more than it could make.
The announcement of BT Sports talks came at the same time that European regulators had approved Warner Media’s merger worth $43 million.