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BT Sport could replace Sky Sports in UK pubs

BT Sport could become a more familiar face to drinkers across the nation if plans to undercut Sky’s subscription charges to pubs go ahead. 

Sky Sports packages are currently offered to pub chains and landlords as a means of drawing in regular customers. BT wants to muscle in on this territory and make inroads to pubs where there is no televised sport. 

Sky Sports is currently available in a third of British pubs. BT estimates that only half show sports on Freeview and and a fifth of pubs do not show sports at all. 

BT Sport could replace Sky Sports in UK pubs
BT Sport: Probably more expensive than a round but cheaper than Sky Sports

Bruce Cuthbert, director for commercial customers at BT Sport told the Financial Times that “there is a market that previously has not had sports,” and hopes that BT’s “substantially cheaper” prices will see the smaller pubs and biting. 

Sky Sports for pubs is priced based on where you are and uses the rateable value of a pub to calculate the cost of subscription. The cost of a Sky Sports subscription for pubs will differ depending on where you are. 

Cuthbert hasn’t revealed exactly how much BT will be charging or whether or not it’ll swap the rateable value system with a flat fee. The latter is unlikely given how lucrative the pub pound has been for Sky, but BT will keep prices low however they decide to spin it. 

Sky Sports vs BT Sport: The gloves are off 

Sky Sports and BT Sports have been eyeing each other up and saying rude things about each other’s mum’s for a while now. Earlier this year it was revealed that BT planned on selling the BT Sports channels directly to Sky customers instead of bundling them with Sky’s channels. More recently, Sky announced that it wouldn’t be carrying any TV adverts for its rival’s new sports channels on Sky Sports. 

A Sky spokesperson said “it’s entirely reasonable for us to choose not to carry advertising for a directly competing service,” while a BT representative likened Sky to “a rottweiler running away from a new born puppy.” 

Saucer of milk for the happy couple on Table 3 please, barkeep. 

Image credit: Flickr user Simon Cocks 


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