UK COMMUNICATIONS FIRM Virgin Media has announced that it has scored the rights to show BT's recently announced Sports channels, plus ESPN, for at least three years.
Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. BT will start showing sports from mid-August, and when Virgin Media announced its win it revealed that it had paid £1bn for the sports rights.
"Virgin Media homes are kicking off the new season with the most complete sporting lineup around in one simple subscription, from Barclays Premier League football and Aviva Premiership rugby to F1, live golf and the culmination of a great Ashes series," said Virgin Media COO Dana Strong.
"We're excited to announce our deal with BT, making these fantastic new channels available at no extra cost to millions of Virgin TV viewers and in HD as standard."
BT will show 38 live and exclusive football matches from the Barclays Premier League for free, although it will cost Sky users £15. It will provide customers with three channels, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN. Each of these will join the Virgin XL TV package.
Virgin Media already offers its customers access to Sky's sports channels, so it is now probably the most comprehensive broadcaster of its type.
When BT announced its acquisition of the rights it called it a win for sports fans. However, shortly afterwards when it raised the pricing of its line rentals it was criticised. BT said that the price hike was to pay for continued investment, and not to pay for the sports channels lineup.
Virgin Media's sports channels will be added to its online Virgin TV Anywhere tablet and smartphone service. µ