The customer base for BT’s sports channels passed 2.5 million by the end of the group’s third quarter, helping drive revenue growth in its consumer division, according to CEO Gavin Patterson.
BT saw its pre-tax profit rise by 8% to £617 million (US$1 billion) on revenues of £4.6 billion.
Patterson indicated that BT’s investment in content rights is paying off, pointing to strong growth in the company’s high-speed broadband base, which the investment in BT Sport is designed to drive.
“Our direct BT Sport customer base passed 2.5 million in the quarter and helped to support 6% revenue growth in our consumer business. We achieved some particularly strong audience figures in December and the exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League that we have won will further strengthen the appeal of our proposition,” said Patterson.
BT is paying about £300 million a year for its three-year deal to UEFA Champions League and Europa League football. However, the company’s strong performance appears to have allayed fears about the impact of the cost of its investment in sports rights, with shares rising on the results.