Major blow to Sky, ITV as BT Sport lands Champions League rights
In a landmark change to the British sports broadcasting landscape, BT Sport is to be new UK home of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europea League football, following a tender process in which BT won the exclusive live broadcast rights to all 350 matches from both tournaments. The rights run for three seasons from 2015-16.
BT has agreed to pay around £299 million a season for the rights. This is the first time a single UK broadcaster has won the exclusive live rights to all matches from both tournaments. Previously, Sky and ITV (which had been the free-to-air broadcaster of the Champions League since it launched in 1992) had shared these rights.
In a further significant move, a selection of these new matches will be screened for free on BT Sport – including to homes that have not signed up to the channels.
“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,” says Gavin Patterson, BT chief executive. “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, adds: “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.”