BT Sport has been rebranded as TNT Sports.
This change follows the creation of a joint venture between BT Group and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) in September last year.
WBD paid more than £600 million (now $786.3 million) to BT Sport to set up the joint venture, meaning the Premier league will air on a new national channel for the first time in a decade.
Viewers can expect an all-female presenting panel for the Premier League and Champions League coverage and the addition of a Champions League highlights programme.
the athletic answers key questions about TNT Sports coverage…
What does this mean for BT Sport subscribers?
Other than a new logo and channel name, it won’t mean anything different to BT Sport customers.
Andrew Georgiou, president and CEO of WBD Sports Europe, said the partnership is “going very well” and that “a tremendous amount of work” has been done behind the scenes to get to the launch day of TNT Sports.
“We want to push the boundaries of sports broadcasting,” added Georgiou.
Access to TNT Sports for existing BT Sport customers across Sky, BT and Virgin Media will start today (July 18). Those who consumed BT Sport through the app can continue to watch TNT Sports through that platform, but should note that the app will be shutting down in the coming months.
Sky TV customers who subscribe to TNT Sports will soon be able to access the channel via an app on their decoder.
Is the price of the monthly subscription going to change?
At the moment, no.
The Discovery Plus app, which will also host TNT Sports starting July 18, will have three levels.
Its basic level, which includes its entertainment offer, is £3.99 a month. A standard tier that will allow consumers to watch Eurosport costs £6.99 a month and the option to watch TNT Sports will cost £29.99 a month.
This £29.99 per month figure is currently the same price as the BT Sport monthly pass, and will include Eurosport and its entertainment offering as part of the deal.
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However, it was not said how long it will stay at £29.99 per month. In the future, inflation and the amount they must pay for broadcast rights will be considered.
Are they going to bid for more Premier League rights?
Domestic broadcast rights for the Premier League will go up for tender later this year and it has been reported that around 70 additional games will be available to buy.
“It’s too early to say (whether WBD will bid on more games) until the packages come out,” Georgiou said. “Once the packages come out and we see what they’re going to do, then we’ll make a call.
“It’s really hard to say we want more or less because we just don’t know how they’re going to be packaged, how the time slots are going to work and what the allocation of picks per time slot is going to be.
“We must maintain our position as a premium broadcaster and we will look at everything through that lens.”
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the athletic revealed in June that the Saudi Pro League has instructed IMG to secure international broadcast deals for the next two seasons. (2023-24 and 2024-25).
Although Georgiou does not rule out making an offer for the rights, the WBD president and managing director said those talks have yet to take place.
“We haven’t thought about it at this point,” Georgiou revealed. “We never rule anything out and will look at every opportunity on its merits.
“We start with what our brand proposition is, what we want to offer to the British and Irish public and then we will make the decision based on those filters.
“We need to find out if people will see it and how much we think it’s worth.”
Are they pushing for any extras to increase their production?
Georgiou wants a rule change from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) that would allow broadcasters to play two-way audio conversations between the VAR and the referee on the pitch.
“At the moment, we can’t tell the audience what’s going on and that’s a challenge, and it’s a huge missed opportunity,” he said. “We would welcome a change that would allow us to share more about what is going on between referees.
“The more you can share, the better off you will be. The fans just want to understand and they may still disagree, but at least they know what they disagree with.”
Regarding their coverage of the Champions League, with the competition’s new format starting in the 2024-25 season, Georgiou said they will have to “work very hard” to explain what it all means to their audience.
“We have already had discussions with UEFA about working with all the other broadcasters,” he said.
“What I would like to say is that we like the fact that there will be big matchups early on. That will create interest earlier.”
Who is part of your line-up?
Laura Woods, formerly of Sky Sports and talkSPORT, is their new main Champions League presenter, taking over from Jake Humphrey. Woods will also host his main boxing nights live.
Jules Breach is replacing Des Kelly as frontline reporter, with Scott Young, WBD’s senior vice president of content and production, saying “the brand and Des were not a perfect fit.”
Ally McCoist, the former Forest ranger player and manager, he joins the channel as a co-commentator and commentator for Premier League and Champions League matches.
Young also said that BT Sport’s rebranding offered them the opportunity to “reimagine sports broadcasting around soccer.”
The other main football presenters for TNT Sports will be Reshmin Chowdhury and Lynsey Hipgrave.
Chowdhury will also present Champions League matches, while Hipgrave will continue to present Premier League matches. In addition to operating as a touchline reporter for top-tier coverage, Breach will host his European League ties.
Elsewhere, Darren Fletcher and Adam Summerton will continue as commentators, while Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Peter Crouch, Robbie Savage, Michael Owen and Paul Scholes, among others, will remain.
Peter Walton, the former referee turned pundit for BT Sport, will not be retained or replaced as TNT Sports is dropping that element of coverage.
Their coverage of the Saturday Premier League, where they have broadcast rights for the 12:30pm kick-off, will start from 11:00am.
What else are they going to be streaming?
As part of its Champions League offering, TNT Sports will begin a new featured program via the Discovery Plus app, where viewers can watch all the action from the midweek ties without interruption.
Elsewhere, Eurosport has rights to the Olympic Games so they will be broadcasting the Paris Games next summer.
TNT Sports also has broadcast rights to Premiership Rugby, MotoGP, cricket, boxing and WWE.
One change they are making to their offer is that the English soccer results shown on Saturdays will no longer be part of the channel’s coverage.
“I think the evolution of media and the evolution of how fans follow their favorite team has probably changed the need for a show like Score,” Young said.
“That does not mean that, over time, we will not see the best way to lead to the fact that there is a lot of football being played at that time. But we don’t necessarily need to use a linear channel to do that.”
(Top photo: Alex Livesey – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)