BT Sport ‘free’ ads could face probe

BT’s multi-million campaign to back the launch of its Sports channel could be investigated by the advertising watchdog after tens of complaints its claim to offer “free” Premier League games is misleading.

BT Sport ad

The media company announced last week it was to offer BT Sport -which will show 38 exclusive live Premier League football matches a season – free to those already paying for its broadband service and £12 per month to everyone else. It is being backed by ads starring footballers including Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Spurs’ Gareth Bale that claims broadband customers can watch for free.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received 21 complaints the claim the channel, and therefore the matches shown, is free is misleading because new customers pay a monthly fee for broadband usage, line rental, and a one-off fee for a hub.

No decision on whether to launch a formal investigation has been made yet but if the complaints are investigated and the claim is found to be misleading, BT Sport could be forced to remove or clarify its ‘free’ positioning.

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

The news BT’s campaign has attracted complaints will be welcomed by Sky. Marketing chief Stephen van Rooyen last week dismissed the ads as an attempt to “stem the flow of customers who’ve switched in their millions to rivals like Sky over the past few years”.

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