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BT Sport launch leaves Virgin Media customers in the dark

Thursday, August 1st 2013 by Editorial
Virgin Media customers still don't know if BT Sport will be launching on their platform any time soon
BT Sport launches tonight, but Virgin Media households won't be tuning in.

Viewers will finally get their first glimpse of BT Sport on Thursday evening (1 August 2013) following months of buildup - but Virgin Media customers are no closer to finding out when they'll be able to access the channels, if at all.

The 'will they, won't they' saga between BT and Virgin has been dragging on for weeks - if not months - now, punctuated by periodic statements from one of the two companies that suggest some progress is being made towards finalising a carriage agreement.

But with BT Sport launching at 18:00 BST tonight, little appears to have changed. Virgin Media says it is always striving to provide customers with "the best possible value and breadth of high-quality content", and insists that discussions with BT are ongoing over "how we could make the forthcoming BT Sport package available".

For its part, BT stresses that it's open to doing a deal with Virgin Media, but that no wholesale agreement has been finalised so far.

All of which means that while BT TV and Sky Sports households are tuning in for the first time this evening, Virgin subscribers will be left wondering what they're missing out on. 

To make matters even more frustrating for the cable company's customers, even Freeview homes will be able to watch BT Sport tonight - the launch is being broadcast at channel 57 on the free-to-air platform.

Virgin customers are understandably pretty peeved about the situation. Not only are they unable to access BT Sport, but they've also recently had to put up with the loss of ESPN, which was previously available free of charge to Virgin Media XL TV subscribers.

Of course, all of this will be forgotten about and forgiven if the two parties are able to get their heads together and iron out a deal before BT Sport really kicks into gear later this month, with the start of the new Barclays Premier League season. But if they can't manage this, the Virgin Media customer base could be hit by an exodus of unhappy sports fans.

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Comments (70)

Hannah - Cable.co.uk
15th August 2013

Updated 15 August

BT Sport and ESPN are now available free to Virgin Media XL TV customers. XL subscribers can also watch all three channels in HD at no extra cost.

Other customers will be able to either upgrade to Virgin XL TV, with over 200 channels or, for £15 a month, add BT Sport – BT Sport 1, 2 and ESPN and all HD variants – to their existing TV package.

BT Sport will also be made available soon on Virgin TV Anywhere, the cloud-based entertainment service for mobiles, tablets and online.

More information

Stroydy
15th August 2013

To vm customers check out channels 547 548 549 550

Marj
14th August 2013

Have just spoken to Virgin Media about the negotiations that are supposed to be going on with BT regarding the televising of BT sports and they said that they hope to get it sorted by the 19th. I told them that the football starts on the 18th and that they are letting their customers down. I have the XL package and have lost ESPN. In view of the millions they are getting from customers I think they owe it to them to get this sorted out a.s.a.p. I will be leaving them when my contract is up in October if they don't come to.. an agreement with BT and also if they do we get it free of charge. I think its an absolute disgrace that this hasn't been sorted out before now. They said they realise that if they don't come to an agreement that they will lose a lot of customers well lets hope that this will bring them to their senses.

andrew goodman
14th August 2013

Went round my Mum and Dads and I have to say BT Sport is a total load of Pants. I am sure this will end up being another Setanta disaster for the simple reason in that it is a poor mans version of Sky Sports but being given the rights to the leftovers. They have a fabulous new studio in Stratford and the presenters think they are on Top Gear when presenting a meaningless pre season friendly game. If you want decent Sport and the best of the best then sign up to Sky Sports. The only downside for us Virginmedia Customers was losing ESPN as they did show a lot of UFC so I do think they should at keast try and get this Channel Back in some format. Sky Sports has all the very best Premiership Games, Ashes Cricket, Boxing, Rugby, PGA Golf , F1 and some have there own channels and also in HD which BT do not have. After watching BT Sport for a week i am so glad when i got back home and go back to Sky Sports who without doubt are the VERY BEST at presenting Sport.

Tris
13th August 2013

The question is that if they give Virgin a wholesale agreement won't they have to give it to Sky? they even turned down a wholesale agreement to sell Sky Sports so they didn't have to give away wholesale rights to BT sport!!!!! BT would lose the court case in the fight with Sky if the sold Virgin Wholesale rights

patrick
11th August 2013

BT will find unless they intend to show manchester united , liverpool , spurs , everton and arsenal the public will learn to wait for match of the day or search for free streaming services which maybe easier to find on virgin broadband services because bt and sky will block

Chris
11th August 2013

For me it's all about UFC. Mixed martial arts is by far my favourite sport. I honestly couldn't care less about the football, rugby or any of the other sports that don't interest me. The fact that Virgin on longer airs UFC is enough to make me consider moving to a supplier that does. Last week I missed a pay per view with a main event I was very interested in, and next weekend I will miss one of the strongest cards they ever assembled with the inaugural Fox Sports show.

To me this is a big deal. Through no fault of my own I am now deprived of watching my favourite sport on TV. I am certain I am not the only disgruntled MMA fan who's very disappointed this was not sorted out ages ago.

Michael
11th August 2013

I don't think anyone is considering switching to BT for its TV offering, only for broadband - the preferred option to get BT Sport is through Sky.

john
11th August 2013

it is worth noting that all off going to switch to bt, if you are a new customer for their tv and get their youview box, you cant actually get sky sports on it, only bt sport so you go from being able to watch 112 prem games to 38, which seems ridiculous also their bbi is slow and outdated and their line rental and calls actually cost more than VM, do you really wanna make the switch then spend a month getting set up, then find yourself tied in to crap product for 18 months??

Ian
11th August 2013

For those thinking of moving to Sky just to let you know BT sport are asking for £15 per HD box you have. In my case that's an extra £30 a month. Told them to stick it. Was going to move to Virgin TV but as they are not showing it at present then I will have to miss out for now.

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