Disney is reportedly looking to purchase BT Sports, the British broadcaster that holds rights to multiple sports events, including the Premier League and Champions League.
The Daily Telegraph reported that UK telecoms giant BT is exploring a partial sale of its sports television arm as it increases its focus on broadband. The Financial Times also corroborated the story.
BT issued the following statement:
Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth. The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.
Disney will have competition as BT is also in talks with Amazon and DAZN. DAZN is the “most keen” on BT Sport; a source told the Telegraph. DAZN is on a huge expansion path globally and is chaired by former Disney executive Kevin Mayer.
BT originally purchased the channel from Disney’s ESPN, so ESPN branding would likely return if a sale to Disney happened.
Disney has multiple hands in sports across its direct to consumer businesses, including ESPN+ and Star+ in Latin America, which will launch with live sports in June. If the sale does happen, we could see a sports bundle arrive on Disney+ in the UK.