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DAZN in talks to purchase BT Sport and its Premier League rights

BT have opened talks with the Premier League about transferring its rights over to DAZN. The stre...

BT have opened talks with the Premier League about transferring its rights over to DAZN.

The streaming service which has built its customer base on boxing, is looking to expand its reach into the UK and Ireland, with the Premier League its prized cow.

DAZN has been in talks about a £580million purchase of BT Sport, which would include its rights to screen Premier League and Champions League matches.

BT Sport first launched in 2013, outbidding ESPN for Premier League rights and ultimately forcing the US network's retreat from the UK and Ireland.

It now holds a contract to screen 52 English top flight games exclusively live throughout the season. On top of that, it's home to Champions League and Europa League football, the Heineken Champions Cup and WWE programming.

It's current Premier League deal runs until the end of the 2024-25 season, and the league must provide permission for sale of rights.

BT paid £385million (€462m) for its Premier League package for the period of 2019 to 2022, and it was renewed for the same figure for 2022-2025.

According to The Times, Discovery - owners of Eurosport - also remain in the frame to buy BT Sport outright.

DAZN are the frontrunners, however, and have the financial muscle to pull off such a deal.

The over-the-top streaming service is owned by Len Blavatnik - who was named the richest person in the United Kingdom in last year's Sunday Times Rich List. His fortune stands at a reported €28million.

DAZN is known in Ireland primarily for its' boxing broadcasts, and recently signed an exclusivity deal with Matchroom Boxing, making it home to Katie Taylor's fights.

In its most recent accounts (2019), DAZN reported a loss of $2.15billion (€1.91m) with much of that attributed to the acquisition of sports rights.

A potential sale is likely to be high on the agenda of Wednesday's BT Sport board meeting, with its third quarterly results following on Thursday.

Another potential stumbling block, however, would be the reaction of television operators like Virgin Media and Sky who rely on the presence of channels like BT Sport etc to sell subscriptions.

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