BT launches pay-as-you-go sports service

BT is launching a pay-as-you-go sport service offering coverage of the Premier League over its fledgling TV service BT Vision. The launch will be backed by a major advertising campaign that will launch at the weekend.

The company hopes to dent BSkyB’s dominance in the pay-TV arena with BT Vision Sport selling itself as “fairer play for sports fans”. Sky had hoped to launch a subscription service on the Freeview digital platform this summer but was thwarted by media regulator Ofcom, which will not rule on proposals until January 2008 at the earliest.

The telecoms giant is offering viewers to watch one of 242 “near live” matches for £1.99. Viewers can also choose to pay a monthly subscription of £4 for access to the Premier League matches plus 125 Coca-Cola League and Carling Cup games each season.

BT also has a deal with Setanta Sports to show its live games. The broadcaster has the rights to 46 Premier League matches from England and 60 from Scotland. It won one of the six packages of rights offered after Sky was denied exclusivity from this season.

The ad campaign, created by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, will include national TV and press advertising leading with the messages that “Premier League football is now at grass roots prices” and “Football now comes without the lengthy contract talks”.

Ian Livingston, BT Retail chief executive, says: “Why pay sky-high prices now there’s an alternative?”

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