‘Discovery just became a sports broadcasting superpower in the UK’


As revealed earlier this morning, BT Sport is set to join Discovery in a joint venture in the UK, focused on sports and entertainment.

It would hold rights to the Olympics, Premier League, Champions League and tennis Grand Slams, and be a massive new player in the sports broadcasting sector.

The development follows reports from the beginning of December that a joint venture between BT Sport and Discovery might be on the cards – DAZN previously looking like a sure-fire bet to snap up BT Sport.

Broadcast Sport asked a number of sports production companies and rights holders for their reaction to the development. 


Lawrence Duffy, managing director, Aurora Media Worldwide

“Discovery just became a sports broadcasting superpower in the UK. The combination of its existing rights portfolio with BT Sport gives it a huge position. As audience consumption habits move into on demand and international content, Discovery+ looks like a great companion to a compelling live offer. This looks like the biggest play of all. Post-pandemic the UK won’t wean itself off international or streaming content. The genie is out of the bottle I think, and domestic broadcasters of any variety are clearly no longer competing with just each other.”


Sunil Patel, CEO, Whisper

“It’s great to see that the joint venture between BT Sport and Discovery is set to focus on sports and entertainment. We have always believed that sport is entertainment and approached it in this way. Sport generates enormous emotion and passion that other genres struggle to achieve. It’s exciting that the talent at Discovery and BT Sport will combine, which will no doubt elevate a number of top sports for the benefit of the audience.”  


Tommy Zalucki, series producer/director, Extreme E

“In the biggest sports shock since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Discovery and BT have announced what must be considered a landmark partnership for the UK sports industry, stealing the deal away from what looked like a DAZN slam dunk. The way UK sports rights and coverage is distributed, produced and viewed has changed today. Surely another behemoth now joins the game, alongside IMG. Time to renew my BT Sport subscription.”


Sara Butler, managing director, Shoot the Company

“Bringing more sport to the screen is always going to be a good thing. We’ve seen excellent coverage and attention on a wide range of sport from BT over the last few years.  Hopefully, this new venture offers an increasing exposure to women’s sport too. We know about the surge in demand for girls and women to have recognisable role models on the screen and while broadcasters have been gradually improving their coverage and exposure, there is a still a long way to go. This opportunity offers BT Sport a real chance to be the leaders in offering more airtime to talented female athletes and presenters.

It will be interesting to see how the new set up also caters for behind the scenes sporting content and documentaries. Clubs, athletes and governing bodies have all been increasing their output on sports documentaries and this new joint venture will surely offer more chance for those governing bodies like UEFA to have another platform to share important messages while also offering viewers an even closer look behind the live action.”

Robbie Spargo - Little Dot Sport

Robbie Spargo, director, Little Dot Sport

“This will be transformative for Discovery and their rights-holding partners’ UK strategy. They’ll be able to leverage BT Sport’s existing rights portfolio, subscriber-base and brand recognition to expose their brilliant and diverse portfolio of rights to a much bigger audience. It also underscores Discovery’s position as one of the most serious global sports rights-holders and this will represent a small set-back for DAZN and Amazon. Their entry into the UK sports market will have to continue to be much more opportunitistc, as rights become available, rather than happening in one fell swoop.”



Sharon Fuller, chief content officer, eScootr Championship

“This is a smart move from Discovery – and really interesting to see how this evolves as an audience facing proposition.

My guess would be that with the significant technical infastructure that BT Sport has invested in this will have been very difficult to unpick for DAZN.”

Neil Duncanson


Neil Duncanson, CEO, North One

“It’s a really exciting prospect and would establish a genuinely influential and powerful sporting new venture. Given our strong relationship with BT Sport and the fact that we’re owned 50% by Discovery, we’d hope to find ourselves in a good position to expand our work with both.”

Paul Bojarski

Paul Bojarski, CEO, Sceenic

“Having used the Eurosport Player to watch the last Olympics and seen their innovation in stats and multi-view but also knowing how BT Sport always push the boundaries of user experience, I think this is a fantastic match, as both companies deeply care for their sport loving users.

“As Sceenic is a partner to BT Sport, we welcome this potential JV to keep driving innovation in fan engagement.”