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Football deal helps BT boost revenues

BT has claimed its English Premier League football offering is helping it win its battle with Sky, as it grew broadband and TV revenues by a quarter.

The telecoms giant said it added a net 104,000 broadband customers in the three months to the end of June, marking a fourth successive period in which it outperformed its rival on this measure.

BT is about to begin its second season of a £738 million deal to screen 38 English top-flight games a year for three years, muscling in on Sky's dominance of top-flight football. It has also paid £897 million for a three-year Champions League deal from 2015.

The telecoms giant said its TV sport offering had helped it to grow revenues in its consumer division, which were up ten per cent to £1.04 billion compared with the same period last year, while broadband and TV revenues rose 26 per cent.

Operating costs for the consumer division increased by 12 per cent to £808 million due to the costs of the sports offering.

BT moved into football coverage last year as part of a strategy to shore up its position in broadband, offering the TV access for free as part of a package for customers taking its internet and telephone services.

It said sport has now helped it notch up four successive quarters in which it had added more broadband customers than BSkyB - which recorded 50,000 over the same period. Another rival, TalkTalk, added 10,000.

BT said this reversed an earlier period in which Sky had been beating it on this measure for seven quarters in a row.

The company said adjusted pre-tax profits rose seven per cent to £638 million.

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