Discovery and BAMTech partnership heralds new European venture

International media and entertainment company Discovery Communications has agreed a long-term partnership with BAMTech that will lead to the formation of a European division of the video technology business of MLB Advanced Media, the interactive media arm of Major League Baseball.

The deal unveiled today (Tuesday) will result in the creation of BAMTech Europe, a new digital technology provider dedicated to working with content owners, broadcasters and OTT platforms to enhance their digital capabilities, reach and performance across Europe.

As part of the partnership, the Eurosport Digital arm of Discovery’s sports broadcasting subsidiary Eurosport will become the new entity’s first client, and gain access to select European sports rights from worldwide sports properties, including current and future rights acquired by BAMTech and jointly by Eurosport and BAMTech.

The deal represents BAMTech’s expansion into Europe having designed, developed and delivered direct-to-consumer streaming services over the past 14 years, currently serving 7.5 million total global paid subscribers with its US-based clients’ OTT products.

Through a long-term digital services agreement, BAMTech’s back-end video platform and services will be implemented in 2017 across all of Eurosport Digital’s products, which today include the Eurosport.com sports news website and Eurosport Player, the subscription-based European OTT sports platform.

In addition, the two parties said Eurosport and BAMTech will work together to make premium sports events more widely available across multiple screens. This will include current and future rights acquired by BAMTech as well as joint acquisitions for other European sports rights, from across the globe, for Eurosport’s digital platform.

JB Perrette, president and chief executive at Discovery Networks International, said: “This partnership with BAMTech is an important next step in our evolution to develop more consumer centric capabilities and services – focused initially on Eurosport.”

The agreement comes after the Walt Disney media company in August agreed to pay $1bn (€909.1m) for a 33-per-cent stake in BAMTech. Disney holds the option to acquire majority ownership in the coming years.

“The collaboration of Discovery’s breadth of live sports content, including the Olympic Games, and BAMTech will bring European fans access to these valuable events like never before,” Bob Bowman (pictured), MLB president for business and media, said. “Discovery has been a global leader in media and will be a great partner in expanding BAMTech to Europe, with an eye to developing new models for delivering content in the best interests of customers.”