BT said the lure of its Premier League football offering was producing results as it doubled the number of new broadband customers compared with the same period last year.

The telecoms giant said it had added 156,000 broadband users in the quarter to the end of September, up from 81,000 in the previous year, taking the total to around seven million.

It also said it had slowed ongoing consumer line losses to 65,000, also an improvement on last year - and better than some forecasts.

Growth of 70,000 in BT TV - where customers watch via a set-top box from BT - saw numbers reach more than 900,000.

The group said BT Sport now has more than two million customers, including those watching via satellite, the BT TV service or online via an app. A new contract signed with Virgin Media increases the reach to four million households.

BT has paid £738m (€868m) to show 38 top-flight English football games a season for the next three years and invested £140m over the latest quarter.

The latter figure caused the company's operating costs to rise by 8%, and was higher than previous expectations of a £100m hit for programme content costs.

BT said underlying earnings had been hit by the sport investment but this was offset by accounting figures relating to depreciation and financing.

Overall revenues for the quarter were flat on the previous year at £4.49 billion. 

In Ireland BT reported an increase in underlying revenue of 2% which it said reflected "growth in the business division".