Murdoch's BSkyB looks to secure base against BT


LONDON (AP) -- British Sky Broadcasting PLC has sought to secure its base against its insurgent competitor BT PLC by securing some sports rights and a long-term deal with U.S. pay-TV network Home Box Office.

The satellite broadcaster, whose biggest shareholder is Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, Inc., said Thursday it had secured six long-term sports rights deals in six sports, including the next rugby tour to New Zealand by the British & Irish Lions and Scottish cup football.

Perhaps more importantly, it said it has extended a partnership with HBO through to 2020 that will see Sky Atlantic continue to showcase programs like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire.

Sky has faced stiffening competition recently, particularly in sports broadcasting, from BT, the former British national telecommunications monopoly.