Delia Bushell resigns from senior executive role at BT Sport

Delia Bushell resigns from senior executive role at BT Sport

Monday, May 8, 2017

UK telecoms operator BT Group (BT) has confirmed that Delia Bushell has resigned from the senior executive role of Managing Director of TV & Sports.

A former Sky TV executive, Bushell joined the telecoms firm in 2014, becoming a key figure in the development of BT Sports channels and TV properties as the company entered a costly broadband market share battle with Sky UK.

It is a tricky time for the broadcaster of the BT Sports channels as there are currently a number politically sticky topics that the gambling industry is facing that could materially affect its advertising revenues.

First is the long running review into gambling marketing around sport that the Government is looking at after expanding the terms of the Triennial Review. While the General Election in the UK has caused the publication of the review to be put on the back burner for now, a likely victory for the Conservatives means that it is likely to be picked up again after the summer.

Secondly is the current media storm surrounding comments made by Joey Barton, which criticised the relationship between football and betting after he was banned for 18 months for breaching the FA’s betting regulations.

Both have the potential to severely impact BT’s ability and willingness to run adverts from the gambling industry.

Bushell departs as BT Sports’ leader having renegotiated broadcast terms with UEFA for the channel to continue as sole broadcaster of Champions League and Europa Cup competitions until the end of season 2020/21, in a deal valued at £1.2 billion (£300 million per season).

However, BT governance is reported to be reviewing all commercial assets following a rough 12 months in which the telecoms firm had to issue a profit warning to investors over a £170 million earnings shortfall.

A turbulent 2016 has seen BT commercial sales impacted by a slowdown in UK public sector spending. Adding further woes for BT governance has been the firm’s costly legal battles following an auditing scandal within its Italian business division.

Investor pressure is mounting on BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson to formulate an effective recovery for the telecoms giant, with many business commentators questioning the future of the expensive to maintain BT Sport division.

Though BT has tried to battle Sky by offering consumers a further broadband/TV-sports proposition, many critics point that this has come at a cost to customers as BT’s broadband product development has been underfunded.

Totally Gaming says: UK betting stakeholders should pay attention to this week’s full-year corporate results by CEO Gavin Patterson. BT governance faces tough choices in 2017, with a focus on restructuring the firm’s operations. UK betting operators and sports-related agencies will likely have to assess whether BT Sport remains an attractive proposition for market ad-spend, should the division be faced with likely cutbacks.

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