England and Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand signs for wide-ranging role with BT Sport
Football legend Rio Ferdinand has signed a three-year deal with BT Sport to support the channel as an interviewer, programme-maker and football expert. Rio, 34, who has played 81 times so far for England, has agreed to carry out various roles for BT Sport, including making football and lifestyle programmes and conducting his own big name interviews as he does for his #5 magazine. He will also be acting as a football expert.
The Manchester United centre-half, who was last week named in the PFA Team of the Year 2012-13 in a poll of his fellow professionals, will also act as a BT Ambassador. Spurs star and PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale and England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have already been announced as fellow ambassadors.
Rio is founder of the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, which offers education, training and employment support programmes in deprived communities. He is also Editor-in-Chief of his own digital magazine #5, which is a free lifestyle magazine. That position has allowed him the chance to conduct big name sporting interviews.
Rio, who has played 486 Premier League games in his career, will help BT to sign up customers for BT Sport, which will offer 38 exclusively live Barclays Premier League games, including 18 of the top pick matches, for three years from August 2013.
BT Sport has also secured the rights to live top tier matches from Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in France, Brasileiro in Brazil and Major League Soccer in the USA.
And BT’s acquisition of ESPN’s TV channels business in the UK and Ireland will bring the rights to show live games for the FA Cup, Scottish Premier League, Europa League and the German Bundesliga.
Rio said: “I am really excited about joining BT Sport. I will be doing a lot more than sitting on a sofa working as a football expert. I am going to be able to make programmes for BT Sport, not just about football, but also about other things that I am passionate about. And I will also be continuing to turn the tables as an interviewer putting the questions to big name stars, rather than answering the questions, like I do with my interviews for #5 magazine.”
The star signed for BT Sport after agreement was reached with his representatives at New Era Management.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to sign another major talent in Rio. Apart from his tremendous achievements as a player, he’s a great role model, devoting his time to his charitable foundation. And he’s a perfect ambassador for BT, as a technology-lover with 4 million followers on Twitter and his own digital magazine. We intend to showcase not only Rio’s unrivalled, current insight into the Barclays Premier League, but also his other skills as an interviewer and programme-maker.”
BT Sport will also show up to 69 live rugby union games a season from the Aviva Premiership.
In addition, BT has signed a deal with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to show matches from 21 global tournaments, including the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.
The BT Sport channels will be based at the iCITY development at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford. The company has opened a pre-registration site for customers to register their interest in BT Sport at www.btsport.com.
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