Rivals bid to bring down BT Sport marketing

BT Sport’s multi-million pound sports star-packed marketing campaign could fall at the first hurdle before the channels are even launched after rivals Sky and TalkTalk complained to the advertising watchdog its “free” price point is “misleading” consumers.

BT Sport ad

Sky made its complaint about BT Sport’s press ads, while TalkTalk’s complaint referred to the channels’ TV activity. Both alledge the campaign is “misleading” as they consider BT has not highlighted the conditional charges required to get the BT Sport package.

BT Sport is currently being advertised as “free”, if ordered with a BT Broadband line, although those without BT Infinity would need to upgrade to get BT Sport on their television set – unless they had a Sky satellite box. Those adding BT Sport or upgrading to BT Infinity also need to sign up to a new 12-month contract. All these options require a monthly fee for broadband usage, line rental and a one-off fee for a hub if one is not already installed. The service starts at £12 a month to those who do not wish to sign up to BT Broadband.

A TalkTalk spokesman says: “We can confirm that we have concerns over the way BT has advertised BT Sport, and we have raised them with the ASA. We look forward to hearing the outcome of their assessment.”

BSkyB did not wish to comment. Sky today made an announcement on its website it could raise its TV prices by up to 10 per cent this September, despite reports earlier this week suggesting it was to roll out a series of reactive price cuts to its TV and broadband bundles to ward off the threat of BT Sport.

The number of consumer complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the BT Sport advertising campaign, which stars sports people such as Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Tottenham Hotspurs’ Gareth Bale, has now risen to 29. 

The ASA is still assessing all complaints and has not yet made a decision as to whether it will launch an official investigation.

A BT spokesman says: “The ASA has not raised any complaints with BT about our advertising for BT Sport.”

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