BT’s first season showing Premier League football helped kick-off forecast-beating annual profits as its consumer revenues rose for the first time in a decade.
Chief executive Gavin Patterson, unveiling his first set of results after succeeding Ian Livingston last year, said: “BT Sport has proved very popular and we are delighted the service is now in around five million homes.”
The telecoms giant, which paid £738 million last year to show 38 games a season for three years north and south of the Border, said it had added 170,000 retail broadband customers in the first three months of this year.
Underlying pre-tax profits lifted a shade under 10 per cent to £901m for the year to the end of March.
The full-year dividend jumps 15 per cent to 10.9p courtesy of a recommended 7.5p final payment, also up 15 per cent.
Shares in BT closed up 2.9 per cent, or 10.8p, at 387.6p.
Revenues from the consumer arm, which includes the home telephone business as well as broadband packages with free access to BT’s sports channels, grew by 4 per cent to £4.02 billion.
For the fourth quarter they were up 9 per cent to £1bn, driven by 24 per cent growth from broadband and BT’s TV platform.
The group said it added 46,000 customers to its TV platform in the final quarter, bringing the total to one million.
Other BT Sport viewers watch by satellite, online or through separate platforms that buy the service in wholesale deals.
BT took the number of high-speed fibre broadband customers to more than 2.1 million.
The company also announced that a rollout of its fibre network, which can be used by it and other internet providers, has reached more than 19 million homes and businesses.
It means about two-thirds of UK premises can access a much faster service.