BT Sport British Telecom

How we are helping BT transform from a telecoms company into a trusted sports broadcaster


The Context

The launch of BT Sport revolutionised the market for televised sport in the UK. But BT’s journey from telecoms company to broadcaster began long before it won the rights to air Premier League football in 2012. Two years before that BT asked Zone to help it build credibility with football fans, before engaging us to convert millions of leads into subscribers and then ensure they remained loyal customers of the new channels.


The Strategy

Our initial task was a tough one: convince football fans that a brand with no heritage in the sport could engage with them on their level. Our answer was to create Life’s A Pitch: a website and YouTube channel in which 100 per cent of the content was created and distributed by respected football bloggers and journalists with large social media followings. Once we’d built credibility and reach, we were tasked with converting millions of leads to sign up to the new BT Sport channels. We did so through a highly targeted CRM campaign, featuring personalised emails, DMs and a whole raft of content from wall calendars to season guides. And throughout this we had to reassure that BT “got” sport… and not just the coverage, but the language, the banter and the culture. Our job hasn’t ended there, and we are continuing to help BT to retain and upsell sports customers through a range of targeted communications and content. Our Friday Fix email, for example, combines personalised viewing recommendations with appropriate content and BT messaging, and goes out to millions of customers each week.

The Results

We built an audience for Life’s A Pitch – the predecessor of BT Sport – of 200,000 unique monthly users and notched up more than 3 million YouTube views. Since the inception of BT Sport, we’ve sent out more than 400 million individual communications. That helped persuade more than 2.5 million customers to sign up in the first six months, contributing to a 6 per cent revenue growth in BT's consumer business. Meanwhile, regular readers of our Friday Fix email – which frequently achieves open rates among active BT Sport subscribers of more than 60 per cent above the industry average – express satisfaction levels 16 per cent higher than non-readers.


Subscribers signed up during opening campaign


above industry average open rate for Friday Fix email


revenue growth over first six months