BT ready to undercut Sky for Premier League football

18 January 2010

sky sports While BSkyB have been spending much of their time of late kicking away at the heels of the BBC, there’s a cheeky attack on Sky itself coming from the plucky chancers at BT, with a whole heap of help from Ofcom.

The media regulator is set to announce its findings following a probe into the amount of money that Sky charges its pay-TV rivals to carry its premium channels such as Sky Sports.

If, as expected, Ofcom orders Sky to cut its wholesale prices, BT have said they’ll the undercut the price that Sky charges its own subscribers. They have said they’ll charge around £15 per month for Sky Sports 1, about a tenner less than Sky charge at the moment, with the price cut due to kick in for the start of the 2010/11 Premier League season. Virgin Media would almost certainly follow BT's lead, although the whole thing could get snarled up in legal action by BSkyB if the Ofcom ruling displeases them.

But with BT Vision currently boasting just 436,000 subscribers compared to Sky’s 9.5 million, would it be enough to even out the numbers? Would you be tempted to drop Sky and switch to BT Vision if it meant paying less to watch Burnley v Portsmouth on a dank November evening?

TOPICS:   TV

16 comments

  • Darren W.
    Im no football fan, but Sky had a fair argument by saying the invest Billions into Sports... what do BT invest in sports? but on the flip side, BT provide the lines and maintenance for all its sky talk customers... it would be nice to see some competition, but then it would be nice to see some more football and sports on BBC1
  • Seatz
    As I understand it you need BT Broadband to get BT Vision? Who has the fastest and cheapest broadband? Certainly ain't BT
  • Mark M.
    hmm.. would I change my broadband from a fast line with o2 to BT, just to save a few quid a month, and get sky sports in blurry non high definition.. nope.. not convinced...
  • Michael
    Sky are the ones who have invested, innovated and created a product that is clearly desirable. If Virgin Media, BT or anybody else wants to reap the benefits of Sky's investment, they should be expected to pay for it. Whilst OFCOM say this is in the interests of "fairness" to consumers, I rather they keep their noses out of this. Forcing Sky to lower their wholesale cost will only force the cost of TV rights down. Those losses will invariably be recouped by higher ticket prices. What's "fair" about those who actively support football being forced to pay extra so that a few watching the game on cable can save a few quid?
  • Nick
    Well BT have been forced to Wholesale their network (that they use 20,000 people a year to run and investing £1bn for fibre) to Sky, talktalk, etc, etc so why should other monopoly players not have to Wholesale other products too..?
  • Matt
    Going on your report sky should say fine have a cheap Sky Sports 1 but we are moving all Prem games to Sky Sports 2/3/xtra
  • Nobby
    > Forcing Sky to lower their wholesale cost will only force the cost of TV rights down. Those losses will invariably be recouped by higher ticket prices. What’s “fair” about those who actively support football being forced to pay extra so that a few watching the game on cable can save a few quid? I'm not sure that the clubs could squeeze more out of viewing (attending) fans. (Future) Wages would have to be cut if their Sky money was cut. Wages are only that high because of the Sky money, so if Sky money drops, so will wages. Of course, where players are on long contracts, there might be Portsmouth-like problems.
  • Wibble
    BT Vision is rubbish and the boxes are useless.
  • Dave
    It's not just about the price of you pay each month its about the quality of service too. I pay Sky around £22 a month for all the general entertainment, free evening and weekend phone calls and 2mb broadband which i think is excellent value . I have tried Virgin and BT and both need to invest more in the software in their set top boxs which are a nightmare to use as well as unreliable . If i did want the sports channels it is unlikely i would leave Sky for BT because 'if it ain't broke why try and fix it '!. Sky put a lot of time, effort and money into THEIR sports channels and if BT don't want to put the investment into launching a rival one then they should not get it discounted. Its like they are being rewarded for putting in no effort.
  • Dai
    @Michael... really? no-one at all was interested in watching football live on telly before Sky Sports? The "product" is the live coverage... anything else (including the commentary) is window dressing.
  • dunfyboy
    As a BT customer I should be excited about this but speeds are so slow on my exchange it's not worth even considering a bt vision box. If I want to use my broadishband to watch the footy there's no need to pay BT for the privilege. Saying that, if Sky didn't take the piss with their prices to start with they might get more subscribers meaning they could still send enough dosh the Premiership's way to enable the clubs to keep paying fuck me wages to the footballers. And if Sky's so innovative, why do they still film Sky Sports news in 4:3 instead of widescreen?
  • SB
    BT Vision is actually a suprisingly good product. (Im a Vision Subscriber) The biggest problem is the rubbish UK broadband speeds which prevent HD being streamed to the box without having to download first.. The box itself is fully HD compatible and there is HD content available. However .. if BT can get Sky Sports.. and Microsoft hurry up and get mediaroom working on the xbox 360.. BT vision might be able to claw some customers from sky's grasp..
  • Stephen
    I've just subscribed to BT vision as I already had the broadband. The second generation box is much improved and much faster on the teletext/menus etc than Virgin Media. Their on demand stuff is cheaper than it used to be and with ESPN included with a £5/month subscription, its not bad. sky sports 1-3 for £15/month would be great. Its actually not too bad and with some more premier league/championship football and some cricket it could be great!
  • Peter
    For those that have never experienced it, BT Vision has developed into a very good product. The Vbox is reliable, the menu structure is well laid out and responsive. You need a resonable connection for it to work properly but when it does it is excellent. Sky should never have been allowed to dominate football in the way they have and it is about time this issue was addressed by OFCOM. Either the wholesale price should be controlled to allow competitors to offer the service to their customers or Sky should only be allowed to own up to three of the six packages. It is a complete joke that in the name of so called competition, Setanta and then ESPN were given 2 out 6 packages neither of which were for saturday afternoon games. The effect of that was to make it more rather than less expensive for someone wishing to watch every game as they have to take out yet another subscription. Having said that I do have some sympathy for Sky as it is not their fault that the rules were ill conceived from the start but their monopolistic position cannot be allowed to continue. It no different from saying if you want broadband you have one option - BT
  • paul.
    IN SOME COUNTRIES IN EUROPE LIKE FRANCE ITS NOT ALLOWED FOR PAY BY VIEW TV COMPANNIES TO HAVE FOOTBALL AND OTHER FRONTLINE SPORTS AND MAKE THE PUBLIC PAY TO WATCH, LIKE MOST THINGS IN THE UK SKY SPORTS IS TOO EXPENSIVE , SOME SPORT LIKE LIKE THE PREMEIRSHIP AND ENGLAND PLAYING CRICKET SHOULD BE ON FREE TO AIR LIKE IT USED TO BE IN THE PAST!
  • Premier l.
    Urges for this insightful website. Often, the greatest knowledge develop from the blogs one wouldnt expect. Until now, I failed to give whole lot idea to commenting on blog page entries and have left opinions even less. Looking through your great article, may very well promote me to do so more regularly.

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