BT Sport is a group of pay television sports channels provided by BT Consumer; a division of BT Group in the United Kingdom and Ireland that was launched on 1 August 2013. The channels are based at the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. BT Sport is available on the BT TV, Sky and Virgin Media television platforms in the UK and Sky, Eir TV and Vodafone TV in the Republic of Ireland.
BT Sport holds exclusive live UK and Republic of Ireland TV rights to 52 Premier League matches per season, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UFC, National League, Ligue 1, Serie A, the European Rugby Challenge Cup, the Premiership Rugby Cup, MotoGP, the FIH Hockey World League and WWE. They are also the official broadcast partner of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Premiership Rugby. BT Sport also holds shared rights to the Scottish Professional Football League with Sky Sports and BBC Alba. In 2015, BT Sport launched their showcase service in SD and in HD in 2017. The SD service closed on 9 May 2017 and the HD service in 2018.
News of BT's first foray into sports broadcasting first came about on 12 June 2012 when it was announced that they had won the rights to 38 live Premier League matches for three seasons from the 2013-14 season, beating American broadcast partner ESPN who had held the shared rights with Sky Sports the previous season. BT announced at the same time that it would be launching its own channel for its new football coverage. The news followed speculation that ESPN was reconsidering its position in the UK. The following months also saw BT win rights to Premiership Rugby and its associated 7s Series, and American, Brazilian, French and Italian top-flight football. On 25 February 2013, BT agreed to acquire ESPN's UK and Ireland TV channels business, consisting of ESPN and ESPN America (ESPN Classic was not included). BT would continue to broadcast at least one ESPN branded channel since the deal's completion date of 31 July, as part of its BT Sport package of services. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but BT was understood to be paying "low tens of millions".
On 2 May 2013, BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 2 were added to the BT TV EPG, followed by Sky the next day along with an on-screen message that the channel was coming soon. On Sky, the channels replaced BT's placeholders, Sailing 1 and 2. The BT-owned terrestrial feeds of Sky Sports 1 and 2, which were also used for Top Up TV, were dropped on 1 July in favour of BT Sport 1 and 2. The Channels started broadcasting on 1 August 2013, on the same day ESPN America ceased to broadcast and ESPN became ESPN from BT Sport; broadcasting most of ESPN America's content. BT signed a wholesale deal with Virgin Media on 15 August 2013 bringing the channels free of charge to customers on the TV XL package.
An interactive service, BT Sport Extra, launched in September 2014, broadcasting additional content at selected times. One video stream was available at launch which expanded to seven in August 2015. BT Sport Extra can be accessed directly from the EPG on YouView boxes and from the red button on Sky and Virgin Media.
On 9 June 2015, ESPN from BT Sport was rebranded BT Sport ESPN.