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New Sky and BT Sport partnership raises uncertainty for eir Sport subscribers

The broadcasters have extended an existing content cross-supply deal into Ireland.

A NEW LONG-TERM agreement announced today will give Sky Sports subscribers in Ireland access to BT Sport’s four channels as part of one subscription for the first time. 

The deal between the pay-TV broadcasters is an extension of their UK content partnership and will see Sky become BT’s exclusive distribution partner in Ireland from summer 2019.

Manchester City v Leicester City - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium BT Sport has exclusive rights to 52 Premier League games. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Irish customers who have a Sky TV subscription will gain access to both Sky Sports and BT Sports through a single package, or can purchase the BT Sport package on a standalone basis.

Currently, BT Sport is only accessible through the bundled eir Sport pack in Ireland, which is available at a monthly fee of €29.99 or free for eir broadband and mobile customers.

While today’s news will be welcomed by Sky customers, it raises uncertainty for eir Sport subscribers as there is a danger the Irish broadcaster could lose the BT Sport channels, and Box Nation, from its seven-channel pack next year.

Sky say it has not yet decided on distribution plans but would be ‘open to having discussions with other platforms.’

In a statement released to The42, eir Sport said: “We are aware of today’s announcement from Sky and BT and from an eir sport perspective, there is no immediate change for our valued customers and the BT Sport channels remain part of the eir sport pack for the foreseeable future.

Our focus is on delivering the very best content including the eagerly anticipated clash between Ireland and Italy in Chicago this weekend which is live on eir sport. Over the last eighteen months we have built a very strong portfolio of content including exclusive Guinness Pro14 coverage, the 2019 RWC as well as extending our Allianz Leagues deal.

“eir sport is in constant dialogue with rights holders and will continue to invest in delivering the very best in sports content to our customers in the 2018/19 season and beyond.”

BT Sport currently has rights to show every Champions League, Europa League and Heineken Champions Cup game, in addition to 52 exclusive Premier League fixtures per season.

JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, welcomed the extension of the partnership with BT: “This is fantastic news for Sky customers in Ireland who will now be able to access all matches on Sky and BT channels from the Premier League, Champions League and Heineken Champions Cup rugby directly with a single Sky TV subscription.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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