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DAZN in ‘advanced talks’ to buy BT Sport and take over Premier League coverage

Premier League TV rights are set for a major shake-up as ‘Netflix of Sport’ moves to enter the market as the primary challenger to Sky Sports for major rights package

West Ham v Manchester United, Match in Pictures

Sports streaming service DAZN are reportedly in advanced talks to buy BT Sport and assume their Premier League rights.

The deal is expected to be concluded within a matter of weeks and would allow BT to focus their resources towards its mobile and internet services as it exits sports broadcasting.

DAZN – owned by the billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik – is aiming to grow its fledgling business in the UK market and views rights to show Premier League games as central to its development.

The company’s chair Kevin Mayer told media last week that he would “love” for the company to have Premier League rights and admitted it was “possible” they could acquire BT Sport.



DAZN are set to become the major challenger to Sky Sports for Premier League rights
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Image:

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)




The full details have been outlined by a report in the Financial Times who stress that no deal is yet completed and has several complications to overcome before sealing the agreement.

Sky – the majority rights holder of Premier League football in the UK – must approve any agreement due to a cross-license deal in place between them and BT Sport.

Earlier this year, BT appointed the investment bank Lazard to explore options for the business as they consider exiting sports broadcasting but may yet to decide to partner with another company on the rights package.

Any potential deal would see DAZN – which has been labelled as the ‘ Netflix of sport’ – also take the rights to Aviva Premiership rugby union matches alongside a collection of cricket matches and games from Australian Rules Football.









Disney and ITV were rumoured to be other contenders to move for rights packages earlier this year when it became apparent that BT were looking to scale back.

BT had established itself as the main competitor to Sky’s sports package in the UK in recent years as they aimed to build their prominence of football coverage to entice broadband customers and drive their core support base.

Would you prefer the Premier League to be streamed rather than shown on traditional TV platforms? Let us know in the comments below









The report outlines how BT had invested over £2billion into its sports coverage as a challenge to Sky’s dominance but has recently looked to scale back on their sport outlay.

DAZN have become an increasingly strong player in the European market and in March it secured a major coup by taking the rights to show Serie A matches in Italy from Sky Italia over a three-year agreement worth €2.5million.

The company also secured the rights to Matchroom Boxing from Sky Sports earlier this year.

The potential switch to DAZN would be a major game-changer in the market and would signal another move towards streaming rather than traditional pay TV.

Streaming service Amazon Prime already has the rights to show two rounds of Premier League action per season.







There have been some concerns about the streaming performance of DAZN events previously and any announcement is likely to come with a pledge that it will improve its infrastructure.

Any potential deal would mean they have a ready-made production centre, with the BT Studios in London likely to be part of the agreement.

There is potential that any switch could happen as early as this season, although neither company has yet to comment on the reports.


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