BT Sport vs Sky: The battle of the football broadcasters

Both BT Sport and Sky are launching multimillion pound marketing campaigns featuring high profile players, including David Beckham and Gareth Bale, as they aim to convince consumers they should be the sports broadcaster of choice, ahead of the new Premier League season.

As the new Premier league football season approaches, the battle for broadcasting bragging rights between BT Sport and Sky is intensifying.

BT Sports showcases its range

BT Sport’s new marketing campaign aims to highlight that it is the only broadcaster with rights to show all four of the major European football competitions including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europe League and Emirates FA Cup.

The campaign pieces together key moments from all four competitions to make it look like they are happening at the same time, under the strapline ‘four competitions, one venue.’

The ads feature footballers Jamie Vardy, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitri Payet and Wayne Rooney. They will be rolled out across TV, VOD, outdoor, digital, press, radio and social.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Dan Ramsay, consumer marketing director at BT, explained how where previously the broadcaster has only focused on one competition at a time, such as the Champions League last year, this time “as an established broadcaster” it is talking about all the competitions for the first time.

“It is the first time we have really focused on the breadth of the range of sports rights we have,” he said.

Ramsay said the investment in BT Sport is “valuable and profitable” for BT, helping boost BT TV subscribers by 28% to 1.5 million in results published in March 2016.

And though there was some concern over the the low viewing figures for the Champions League – just 200,000 reportedly watched it live on free-to-air TV – Ramsay said BT Sport is “not concerned” and is happy with the viewing figures. He claimed more than 12 million people watched BT Sport’s coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final across digital and TV platforms.

“You can see it in our subscriber numbers and profit performance that BT Sport is a success. It has had a huge role to play in helping to evolve our brand perspectives into something a lot more edgy and exciting than we were traditionally,” Ramsay said.

Sky Sport highlights excitement of Premier League

Sky Sports is focusing on its dominance of the Premier League, showing more games than ever before, with 126 live matches, including the first Friday night games. Its campaign features David Beckham, who goes out on his daily jog only to run into scenes from 10 months of football.

“It’s our biggest ever season on Sky Sports, so we wanted one of the world’s biggest stars to help us tell that story. Never has the Premier League been so unpredictable, and with more matches than ever before, Sky Sports viewers can enjoy unrivalled coverage as the drama unfolds,” says Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports.

Sky is teaming up with Twitter to show highlights of Premier League games on the social media site.

Sky is also credited sport in its recent results with group revenue up 5% to £8.7bn.

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