Ericsson has signed a multi-year broadcast and media services deal with BT Sport to help launch three new television channels and an interactive red button service in the UK. BT TV Sport MD Delia Bushell unveiled the new channel at a launch event this month, commenting: “we believe we’ll be the first broadcaster in the UK and potentially also in Europe, to have a live 4K Ultra HD channel and TV set top box for our customers.”
Ericsson will be responsible for designing, building and running BT Sport Europe, free-to-air service BT Sport Showcase, and BT Sport UHD. BT Sport UHD will go live on 2 August, said Bushell, and will be “broadcasting in Ultra HD throughout the whole season, picking events from the Champions League, the Premier League, the Aviva Premiership, the FA Cup and others.”
Ericsson will also help to deliver BT Sport's new BT Sport Extra red button service, which has been “turbo-charged”, according to Bushell, allowing viewers to choose between eight UEFA games broadcast live simultaneously - including UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games. This gives fans “even more control and choice than they’ve ever had before.”
As part of the deal, BT Sport has also extended Ericsson's existing six-year contract for BT Sport 1 and 2 by an additional three years. This contract includes playout and media management services and access services for both channels.
Jamie Hindhaugh, COO, BT Sport and BT TV, said: "BT Sport's UEFA Champions League coverage sets out to bring viewers the best ever experience of football's leading club competition. Our 4K coverage of the UEFA Champions League alongside other competitions will bring a truly cinematic experience into fans' living rooms."
Thorsten Sauer, head of Broadcast and Media Services at Ericsson, added: "We are very proud that BT has selected Ericsson to help launch a new range of high-profile TV services, including the UK's first UHDTV channel. BT Sport has made a significant commitment to its sport broadcasting portfolio, and we are delighted that Ericsson will play an integral role in its future success. This partnership is a significant win for our business and really underlines our role as a trusted partner to some of the world's leading broadcasters and sports rights holders. We will continue to work hard to deliver high-quality, innovative services."
Image: Gary Lineker with the European Champion Clubs' Cup