There may be some intriguing small talk at the school gates next time Gavin Patterson and Jeremy Darroch turn up to collect their respective kids. The first of the two is BT's recently appointed 46-year-old chief executive, and the man behind this weekend's staggering £900m grab for Uefa Champions League football.
The second is his principal rival: BSkyB's chief executive, the man who has run the Murdoch-controlled satellite broadcaster, which has considered itself the home of football on television for a generation.
Civil relations are likely to be maintained between the two FTSE 100 bosses, who once worked together at consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and now send their children to the same school in Surrey.
They are said to get on well and both wear their roots lightly but proudly. The £925,000-a-year Patterson is a devoted Liverpool fan who went to a Warrington comprehensive before Cambridge (though there is little trace now of a northern accent), and Darroch, a Newcastle United-supporting grammar school boy, grew up in Northumberland.
Now they are engaged in a bitter battle for the valuable "triple play" customers who will buy phone, broadband and TV products from them, using top-flight sport as bait, in what one analyst yesterday termed "an armageddon scenario".
Further down their respective companies, the enmity has been ever more obvious since BT Sport declared its intention to take on Sky, embarking on a £1.5bn spending spree to secure sport rights and lure the likes of Jake Humphrey and Clare Balding to new state-of-the-art studios in east London.
Patterson himself said Sky's coverage of the national game was "professional" but "cold", and promised a warmer, more inclusive, family-friendly offering.
The barbs provided plenty of good copy but hid the deeper strategic battle between two of Britain's biggest companies in a fast-changing media landscape, nearly 30 years after BT was privatised.
At P&G, Patterson's tenure included a spell as marketing director for Pantene shampoo, but since then he has been used to competing with Sky – a personal battle that began when he joined Telewest, then one of two debt-laden cable companies desperately battling to put a dent in Sky's ascendancy, in 2000.
In 2003, Patterson – by then head of broadband and pay TV for Telewest – told the Guardian he was "preparing to challenge SkyDigital's dominance by launching a cut-price offer to reverse the flow of customers away from the company's TV and phone services".
It fell short, as did just about every other bid by companies trying to do the same, and Patterson has been ploughing a similar furrow with varying degrees of success ever since.
A sharp dresser who favours an open collar and likes to see himself as cut from a different cloth than some of his more staid predecessors, Patterson was brought on board by then BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen in 2004 at a time when he was looking to outsiders to try to transform BT's culture.
Recognising that future growth would come from high-speed broadband, Verwaayen set about trying to change its image from staid former monopoly to thrusting, multifaceted media company, with mixed results.
Ian Livingston, Patterson's predecessor, who stepped down to join the government as a trade and investment minister in September, consolidated the shift, cleaned up the balance sheet and concentrated on a £3bn bet to roll out high-speed broadband.
The ambitious Patterson, who led from the front on the bold BT Sport plan following years of disappointing results for BT's TV arm, is intent on turning up the heat further.
One BT colleague said that while the Celtic-supporting Livingston saw BT Sport as a defensive play, the decisive Patterson was more likely to use it as a vehicle to attack Sky. "If Ian was more inclined to bring on an extra defender to secure a draw, Gavin is more likely to throw on an extra striker to get the winner."
On Monday, in common with his more statesmanlike public profile since becoming chief executive, he could afford to play down the significance of the potentially transformative Uefa deal. "I don't define our strategy based on Sky or any competitor per se. We sense there is an opportunity to grow into in this market. The key to us is a competitive broadband proposition and triple play. Sport is just one aspect of that," he told the Guardian.
Whereas Livingston preferred to entertain clients at a Meatloaf or Rod Stewart gig, Patterson prefers Radiohead or Neil Young. Given the £2.3bn in annual free cashflow thrown off by BT, Patterson has been empowered to take on Sky at its own game, and take a few risks in reinvestment.
Having watched as Sky, 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, started to eat large portions of BT's lunch as it diversified into broadband, the former telecoms monopoly realised it needed to take on the pay TV giant in its broadcasting back yard.
But having been burned before by rash public promises – he said in 2010 that internet TV service YouView would be "bigger than Sky" – Patterson is portraying the company's latest coup in more measured tones.
Wary of being cast as a smooth marketing man, he has being trying to prove to investors that he will be prudent as well as brave. On the one hand, he must convince that this is a modest bet that fits into the company's overall strategy. On the other, he must convince sports rights owners and fans that BT is serious about building its channels for the long term. BT shares, trading at their highest levels for a decade, eased 2p to 370p on the day after the announcement.
Patterson must also keep the plates spinning among the many other facets of BT's business, while proving he has more than driving ambition, marketing mettle and a dictionary of buzzwords. He recently went to New York to meet international investors and spent part of Monday morning co-ordinating the company's part in the emergency response to the Philippines.
Given his marketing background, Patterson was heavily involved in the decision to commit BT to being a sponsor of London 2012. He later described the games as a "lightbulb moment", which proved BT could deliver and demonstrated that there was a market for a different sort of sport channel.
One question is how far Patterson has been influenced by Tony Ball, the former Murdoch lieutenant who ran BSkyB in the early part of the last decade. It is understood that Ball advised BT that the Champions League rights were essential and that it should "go big and go early", with a knockout bid. It was a strategy minted in Osterley during the years when Sky was regularly criticised for hugely outbidding the competition.
Having missed out on toppling Sky's dominance of the Premier League rights that are the cornerstone of their subscription sports offering, BT was determined not to repeat the mistake.
For Sky to be undone by its own tactics will deal a psychological blow, on top of yesterday's hit to the share price. While Sky insisted that BT had paid far beyond what it was prepared to invest, industry gossip was rife that they had tried to make a final bid.
Patterson has been attempting to play down the extent to which the tussle for sport rights equates to a bitter fight to the death with Sky. But friends said Patterson would be revelling in giving his rival a bloody nose.
The tussle over Champions League rights has merely set the scene for an even bigger battle once the live rights to Premier League, the real driver of subscriptions, return to the market. Just as his beloved Liverpool appear in the early stages of a resurgence after years of underachievement, Patterson will be hoping for a repeat off the field for BT's broadcasting ambitions.
Education School in Warrington, Cheshire, and Yeovil, Somerset; BSc in chemical engineering from Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Family Married with four children
Career Nine years at Procter & Gamble, rising to become European marketing director. Joined Telewest in 2000 as managing director of its consumer division, leaving in 2004 to join BT as managing director of BT Retail's consumer division. Joined the main BT board in 2008 and became chief executive of BT Retail. Appointed BT plc chief executive in September 2013
High point Successful rollout of BT Infinity high-speed network and launch of BT Sport
Low point Painfully slow progress of YouView, a cross-industry coalition designed to take on Sky, and several failed attempts to convince regulators to check Sky's growth
What he says "Culturally, we recognise we need to evolve. As a company, we have been evolving. The organisation has been made sharper and fitter by our exposure to a brutal marketplace"
What they say "He has a detailed knowledge of all parts of our business and a track record of success. He was closely involved in creating our strategy and is the right person to take it forward" - Sir Michael Rake, BT chairman