It already spends an annual £1 billion on sports rights including the Premier League and the Champions League, a strategy that has not been universally accepted.
Marc Allera, head of BT Consumer, told the Financial Times that BT Sport had moved from a “emotionally driven start-up mentality” when it launched five years ago to and has now adopted a more hard-headed approach. “It’s like a big football club in the transfer window. If a striker is worth £50m I won’t pay £70m for him,” he said. “At the wrong price, everything is expendable”.
Recently, BT lost the rights to Italian Serie A football after being outbid by Eleven Sports.
It’s believed that Eleven will now pick up on the rights to UFC.
BT Sport will continue to screen NBA Basketball until the end of October and UFC until December.
However, amid the rise of Eleven Sports, a rejuvenated Eurosport, and interest from established broadcasters such as ITV, there are signs in a shift in thinking.
Last week, Sky said that it too would be spending less on second tier sports.