iCity anchor tenant BT Sport begin moving preparations
BT Sport has initiated preparations to move into their new headquarters at the former Olympic media centre – now called iCity – in East London, according to representatives.
The site will be home to the company’s new BT Sports channel, set for launch in April 2013; broadcasting 38 Barclays Premier League matches per season, rugby union games and women’s tennis, with recent deals for live coverage rights costing in the region of £1bn combined.
The company recently confirmed a ten year anchor tenancy for 75,000sq ft based at the sites, where it plans to house three TV studios, a control centre and 20 edit suites and an audience holding area.
Once completed, the sites will be a production hub for all sports content for BT including programme hosting at the studios, with other additional features and programmes filmed at the iconic BT tower.
The landmark deal was widely heralded as fantastic news for both the local community and for ensuring the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics remains intact.
The company look to reposition itself within sports broadcasting, and expects to earmark billions of pounds on broadcast rights over the next decade in a sustained attempt to challenge market leaders Sky, who were paid £738m to show 38 Barclays Premier League matches per season.
BT have also signed a four year deal with Women’s Tennis Association to screen 800 hours of live tennis a year, and hopes to capitalise on growing interest in the sport, on the back of British players Heather Watson and Laura Robson, both ranked in the world’s top 50.
Recently speaking at a press release, BT chief executive, Ian Livingston said: “BT Sport will be a visible and engaged partner for the community and the studio will be a reminder of the incredible sporting feats we witnessed during the Olympics and Paralympics.
The Olympic Park will be an iconic sporting backdrop for BT Sport. We want to create jobs in the area and to explore sporting links with local schools as well as looking at how we can offer our production facilities to other companies.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented further, adding: “This is an exciting proposal from iCity and BT to transform part of the broadcast centre into the home of a major new TV channel creating hundreds of new jobs.
It offers the prospect of delivering our ambition and vision of a great employment legacy for Londoners from the Games and creating a new hi tech and creative hub for London in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I look forward to considering it at our Board meeting next week."