BT Group PLC (LSE:BT.A) saw its shares rise in Tuesday’s trade amidst fresh reports that the DAZN streaming platform is closing in on a deal to acquire BT Sports.
In London, BT shares were up 2.19% changing hands at 158.7p.
DAZN is backed by billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik and launched in the UK earlier this year as it captured from Sky the exclusive rights to Matchroom Boxing events in a five-year deal, signed in June.
The streaming platform – dubbed by some as ‘the Netflix of sport’ – is now in advanced talks with BT to buy the sports broadcasting division, according to the FT, which said a deal could be sealed in a matter of weeks.
Acquiring BT will significantly enhance DAZN’s position in the UK market by giving it the rights to broadcast both Premier League and Champions League football, which will be key in attracting UK subscribers.
Such a deal has been rumoured for some time after BT in April said it was having early-stage discussions over potential partnerships or investments, and at the same time hired investment bank Lazard as an advisor.
It comes as BT has increasingly seen the sports broadcasting, launched previously to entice subscribers through a bundling of services, as non-core thanks to the continued strength of OpenReach and BT’s high-speed broadband unit.
ITV briefly mulled a move for BT Sport before withdrawing its interest meanwhile Amazon and Disney, the parent company of ESPN, have also been linked in the media as potential suitors.