Discovery Communications, the new majority shareholder in Eurosport, is considering using its deep pockets to take on BSkyB and BT in the next multibillion-pound war for Premier League TV rights.
The owner of the Discovery factual channel, which has a market capitalisation of $28bn (£19bn), is eying up the UK sports rights market after a deal last week to fast-track its acquisition of a controlling stake in Eurosport.
Bidding for the next three-year Premier League TV rights deal is expected to start later this year, and the Discovery Communications chief executive, David Zaslav, told the Guardian that his company is considering a bid.
“We will look opportunistically at everything, strong sports rights can be very compelling and ‘must have’ content for viewers and advertisers,” he said, adding that the UK is Discovery’s biggest market outside the US. “Eurosport is very strong in the UK and we’ll will look at all rights in the UK and Europe and make a strategic decision.”
In June 2012 BT made a surprise entry into Premier League TV rights, winning a significant number of top-flight games that had been the preserve of BSkyB, in a battle that netted the league a record £3bn.