BT has announced that it is in exclusive talks with Discovery to create a joint venture bringing together BT Sport and Eurosport UK.
The telecoms giant said the new business would remain committed to retaining BT Sport’s existing sports broadcast rights – which includes European football and a number of Premier League games.
BT Sport customers would also gain access to Discovery’s sport and entertainment content – including Olympics coverage – as well as the discovery+ app.
Cycling Grand Tours, tennis Grand Slams, the winter sport World Cup season and Premiership Rugby will also feature, the companies said.
BT said it followed a “detailed process to identify the best way to generate investment and strengthen” the sports business.
It said it was aiming to conclude its exclusive discussions with Discovery early in its April-June quarter and for the new company to be operational later this year, subject to completion and approval by regulators.
The group first disclosed in April last year that it was in “early discussions” over the future of BT Sport having spent billions buying broadcasting rights.
Its 50/50 joint venture will see it continue to be involved in sports TV rather than going for an outright sale to streaming service Dazn, which had also been on the table.
Marc Allera, chief executive of BT Consumer, said the proposed joint venture would create an “exciting new sports broadcasting entity” for the UK.
“With a shared ambition for growth, as well as the combination of our world class sports assets along with Discovery’s premium sports and entertainment content, our customers will benefit from even more content in more places,” he said.
Dazn chairman Kevin Mayer said in a statement that the deal for BT Sport had “become uneconomical” for DAZN, but he remained committed to growing the business in Britain.
The announcement came as BT delivered a trading update showing a 2% fall in revenues to £15.68bn for the nine months to the end of December and a 3% fall in pre-tax profits to £1.54bn.
That was blamed on its global operations and its enterprise division – which sells services to business.
BT continued to roll-out its full-fibre network, now reaching 6.5 million homes.
Its consumer division saw broadband growth and stronger BT Sport revenue compared to a period a year earlier when live sport was cancelled.
But its EE mobile network revenues were hit by more people choosing SIM-only deals.