BT Sport will show Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial match live on its new sports channels and the match can be watched online by millions of fans worldwide following a groundbreaking agreement.
The game between Manchester United and Sevilla at Old Trafford on Friday, August 9, could be one of the most-watched testimonials ever, courtesy of Streamworks’ global streaming operation which will make the live action available at www.riotestimonial.com in as many as 170 countries.
The sense of occasion will be heightened by special guest appearances by famous faces from the sporting and entertainment worlds.
Ferdinand’s testimonial is scheduled just two days before the domestic season curtain raiser, as Premier League champions Manchester United take on FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic in the FA Community Shield.
The club granted their centre-half a testimonial as a tribute to his incredible 12 years with United. Ferdinand has made 432 appearances for the club, scoring eight times, since joining from Leeds United.
After signing a one-year extension, he is set to rack up more appearances in the 2013/14 season, as United look to defend their Barclays Premier League title in the face of challenges from neighbours Manchester City, under new coach Manuel Pellegrini, and Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho back at the helm.
In fact, all three leading title challengers will be fielding new managers with David Moyes taking the reins at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand, 34, will be looking to add to his medal haul of six Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League, two League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.
He has also signed a three-year deal with BT Sport to support the channels as an interviewer, programme-maker and football expert, including making football and lifestyle programmes and conducting his own big name interviews as he does for his #5 magazine.
He will also act as a brand ambassador for BT alongside fellow Premier League stars Rio Ferdinand and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Proceeds from the testimonial will go towards the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, which offers education, training and employment support programmes in deprived communities.
Rio Ferdinand said: “Manchester United is a unique club with fans in every corner of the globe so I am delighted that my testimonial is going to be so widely available to all of the club’s supporters in so many countries.
“It is going to be a fantastic and fun evening and there will be famous sporting faces and celebrities popping up all over the place, so it should be an incredible night.”
BT has agreed with Streamworks International that they will stream the action live across the globe. In the UK, the streaming will be free for all viewers.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We are delighted to be associated with a huge star like Rio in all the different ways he is featuring on BT Sport and we are thrilled that his testimonial is going to be live on BT Sport.
“To mark this special occasion, we’ve put together a groundbreaking plan to help make this game available to millions of fans across the globe, and it is something of a technology first for a game to be streamed live on this scale.”
BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays Premier League for the next three seasons, including 18 of the top pick games from August 2013
The channels will also show live FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Scottish Premier League matches, as well as top tier live football from Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, Australia and the USA, plus action from the FA Women’s Super League and 30 live matches from the Football Conference.
Friday 9th August
Rio Ferdinand’s Testimonial: Manchester United v Sevilla
Kick-off: 19:30 | Old Trafford
LIVE: 7.00pm-10.00pm BT Sport 2 Highlights: 11.30pm-12.45am BT Sport 1