BT Sports has been rebranded as TNT Sports.
This change comes after a joint venture was formed between BT Group and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) in September last year.
WDD paid more than £600 million (now $786.3 million) for the joint venture with BT Sport, which means the Premier League will be broadcast on a new domestic channel for the first time in a decade.
Viewers can expect an all-female panel for Premier League and Champions League coverage and a Champions League highlights show.
The Athletic answers key questions about TNT Sports coverage…
What does this mean for BT Sports subscribers?
Other than a new logo and channel name, it won’t mean much to BT Sport customers.
Andrew Georgiou, president and managing director of WBD Sports Europe, said the partnership was “going really well” and that “a hell of a lot of work” had gone on behind the scenes to get to TNT Sports’ launch date.
Giorgio added: “We want to push the boundaries of sports broadcasting.
TNT Sport will be available to existing BT Sport customers on Sky, BT and Virgin Media from today (July 18). Those who consume BT Sport via the app will be able to continue watching TNT Sport on that platform, but 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 boxset.
Is the monthly subscription price going to change?
For now, no.
Starting July 18, the Discovery Plus app, which hosts TNT Sports, will have three tiers.
Their basic tier which includes the entertainment offer is £3.99 per month. A standard tier that allows consumers to watch Eurosport costs £6.99 a month and the option to watch TNT Sports costs £29.99 a month.
This figure of £29.99 per month is currently the same price as BT Sport’s monthly pass and will include Eurosport and their entertainment offering as part of the move.
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How long the £29.99 per month will last has not been revealed. It also takes into account inflation and the amount you pay for broadcast rights.
Are they going to bid for more Premier League rights?
The Premier League’s domestic broadcast rights will go up for auction later this year, with an additional 70 games said to be up for grabs.
“Until the packages are released, it’s too early to say (if WBD will bid for more games),” Giorgio said. Once the packages are released and we see what they do, we’ll make a call.
“It’s very difficult to say whether we need more or less because we don’t know how they’re packed, how the time slots work and what the vote allocation will be in the time slot.
We need to maintain our position as a premium carrier and look at everything through that lens.
Would you consider broadcasting the Saudi Pro League?
The Athletic announced in June that it had instructed IMG to secure international distribution deals for the next two seasons (2023-24 and 2024-25) of the Saudi Pro League.
Although Giorgio has not ruled out bidding for the rights, the WBD president and managing director said those talks are yet to take place.
“We haven’t thought about it at this stage,” Giorgio said. “We are not ruling anything out and will look at all opportunities on their merits.
“Our product proposition, we start with what we want to offer to the British and Irish public and then we make decisions based on those filters.
“We have to make something that people will look at and what we think it’s worth.”
Are they pushing anything extra to increase their productivity?
Giorgio wants a change to International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules to allow broadcasters to play two-way audio conversations between the VAR and the referee.
“At the moment we can’t tell the audience what’s going on and that’s a challenge – and that’s a huge missed opportunity,” he said. “We welcome the change, which will allow us to share more about the situation between judges.
“The more you can share, the better off you are. Fans just want to understand and they can still disagree, but at least they know what they’re up against.”
Regarding coverage of the renewed Champions League for the 2024-25 season, Giorgio said they “have to work very hard” to explain what it means to their audience.
“We have had discussions with UEFA about working with all the other broadcasters,” he said.
“All I can say is that we like to have big matches early on. This creates an early demand.
Who is part of their lineup?
Former Sky Sports and talkSPORT ex-Laura Woods is their new Champions League presenter, replacing Jack Humphrey. Woods will also stop their major boxing nights.
“Brand and Des weren’t a perfect fit,” said Scott Young, senior vice president of content and production at WBD, who replaced Jules Brech Des Kelly as Touchline reporter.
Former Rangers player and manager Ali McCost is joining the channel as a co-commentator and analyst for Premier League and Champions League matches.
The youngster said rebranding BT Sport had given them the opportunity to “rethink sports broadcasting around football”.
Other main anchors for TNT Sports will be Reshmin Choudhury and Lindsay Hipgrave.
Choudhury will carry Champions League matches while Hipgrab will continue to carry Premier League matches. As well as working as a touchline reporter for top-flight coverage, Breach will be hosting their Europa League ties.
Elsewhere, Darren Fletcher and Adam Summerton will continue in commentary, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Peter Crouch, Robbie Savage, Michael Owen and Paul Scholes and others will remain.
Former BT Sports commentator Peter Walton will not be retained or replaced as TNT Sports are dropping that part of their coverage.
They have the first broadcast rights at 12:30 p.m., with their Premier League action starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
What else are you going to broadcast?
As part of their Champions League offering, TNT Sports will launch a new highlights show via the Discovery Plus app, where viewers can watch all the action from midweek – uninterrupted.
Elsewhere, Eurosport have the Olympic rights and will broadcast next summer’s Paris Games.
TNT Sports also has broadcast rights to Premiership Rugby, MotoGP, Cricket, Boxing and WWE.
One change they are making to the presentation is that the English football results on Saturday will not be covered by the channel.
“The evolution of media and how fans follow their favorite teams has probably changed the importance of a program like The Point,” Young said.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t look at how we manage the fact that more football is being played over time. But we don’t necessarily need to use a linear channel to do this.
(Top photo: Alex Livese – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)