Sky agrees deal to make BT Sport available to its Irish subscribers
New arrangement will be in place ahead of the beginning of the next English football season
Chelsea’s English midfielder Ross Barkley, left, celebrates with Spanish striker Alvaro Morata and Brazilian midfielder Willian after scoring during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in on October 28th. Sky has agreed a deal with BT to offer its sports channel to Sky subscribers in Ireland. Photograph: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
From next summer, Sky will become BT’s “exclusive distribution partner” in Ireland. This means it will offer for the first time BT’s various sport channels to its Irish customers through their Sky subscription service.
The deal is being touted by Sky and BT as a “long term extension and expansion” of a wider deal that was announced for the UK market last December.
Under that arrangement, the broadcasting rivals agreed to cross-supply content to each other, helping to boost their respective offerings in the face of competition from subscription services such as Amazon and Netflix.
The December deal to supply channels to each other’s UK platforms did not apply to Ireland, however. In the UK, BT also agreed to act as billing agent and to sell Now TV on Sky’s behalf, opening up channels such as Sky Atlantic to BT customers in Britain.
JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, welcomed the partnership with BT Sport as “fantastic news”, he said, for its local customer base. The arrangement will be in place ahead of the beginning of next English football season.
The Irish deal, the companies announced on Wednesday morning, means local Sky subscribers will now gain access to 180 Premier League games, the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, and the rugby Heineken Cup all through their Sky subscription.
Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer business, also welcomed the extension of the partnership to Ireland.
BT Sport is currently available in Ireland as part of a bundled TV offering by Eir.