BT snatches Champions League

November 9, 2013 10.43 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

BT Sport DiscussionBT Sport has secured the exclusive live broadcasting rights to all 350 matches of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for three seasons from 2015/16.

This is the first time a single UK broadcaster has won exclusive live rights to all matches from both tournaments.

BT Sport has agreed to pay around £299 million a season for the rights – it quotes the exact figure as €1,075,981,484.31 over the three seasons – and says it is amount it can incur without changing its financial outlook.

The company adds that it has pledged to make its new matches more accessible and affordable to fans. It has also announced that it will show a selection of the new matches free on BT Sport, even to homes that have not signed up to the channels.

Commenting on securing the rights, Gavin Patterson, BT chief executive, said: “I am thrilled that BT Sport will be the only place where fans can enjoy all the live action from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Both tournaments are world class and firm favourites with many. The live rights will give a major boost to BT Sport and give people yet another reason to take our terrific service.

“BT Sport has got off to a strong start with customers enjoying what we have to offer. We have attracted millions of customers by giving sport back to the fans, and we can assure people who want to catch all the action, that European football will be far more accessible and affordable with BT.”

Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events SA marketing director, added: “UEFA is delighted to welcome newcomer BT Sport to the family of UEFA Champions League rights holders. Since its launch in the summer, BT Sport has been UEFA’s partner for the UEFA Europa League and has demonstrated its ability to deliver premium sports coverage. We look forward to working with BT Sport on both competitions in the 2015-18 rights cycle.”

Sky meanwhile issued the following statement:

“We bid with a clear view of what the rights are worth to us. It seems BT chose to pay far in excess of our valuation.

“There are many ways in which we can invest in our service for customers. We take a disciplined approach and there is always a level at which we will choose to focus on something else. If we thought it was worth more, we’d have paid more.

“Nothing changes until 2015 and we look forward to 18 more months of live Champions League on Sky Sports. We will now re-deploy resources and continue to bring customers the best choice of TV across our offering.”

The live rights are currently held by Sky Sports and ITV.