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Virgin Media signs 3-year telly deal with BT Sport

Good for fans who only want to watch 38 Premiership games all season

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BT has inked a three-year wholesale deal with Virgin Media to allow the cable company to serve BT Sport television channels to its customers.

Financial terms of the agreement were kept secret.

It comes just days before the kickoff of the new Premier League season and is a clear move to gently lean on pay-TV behemoth BSkyB.

BT said its sport offering was "now available across all the major TV platforms in the UK including cable, satellite and DTT." Subscribers can also stream the channels over broadband.

Virgin Media will provide BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN to its XL TV customers as part of their existing packages. Those consumers do not need to sign up to new contracts or cough up extra cash.

Customers of the Liberty Global-owned telco who do not have the XL service can access the channels at the cost of £15 per month.

"BT has made a large investment in BT Sport and this is an important commercial agreement for us that recognises the excellence of the channels," the telecom giant's television boss Marc Watson said. "We are keen to make our services as widely available as possible and to do so via wholesale arrangements. We are doing this with Sport."

BSkyB, however, has the rights to many more Premiership games than BT's diminutive offering of 38 matches during the season.

BT recently said that 1 million of its subscribers had so far signed up for its new sports channels. But viewing figures for its opening show fronted by Clare Balding were pathetic – averaging just 1,000 sets of eyeballs. ®

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