Despite strong interest from Sky, BT Sport will remain the exclusive home of all top flight European club football until 2024.
BT has secured the rights to all 420 games of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the new UEFA Europa Conference League, for a further three seasons. This represents an increase of 77 games from the previous deal, and includes highlights and in-match clips, and commences in 2021.
Last season. BT Sport saw a 26 per cent increase in UEFA Champions League viewer hours, with the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Spurs available for all to watch in the UK on social media, and a record breaking 11.3 million people tuning in across all platforms.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said, “We’re delighted to remain the home of UEFA Champions League in the UK. BT Sport leads the way when it comes to UEFA Champions League coverage, and we’re very excited to continue to bring our world class coverage to one of the most exciting football competitions in the world – whether that’s broadcasting 12 games simultaneously or delivering industry leading images in 4K UHD. With increasingly more ways to watch our content, with more games on show than ever before, and alongside our excellent line up of other competitions and sports, BT Sport is going from strength to strength.”
UEFA Marketing Director Guy Laurent Epstein, added: “UEFA is delighted to continue its strong partnership with BT until 2024. All matches will be available across the BT Sport channels and digital services and in addition UK football fans will be able to enjoy club competition highlights for free on social media each match week, as well as the finals to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the newly formed UEFA Europa Conference League. Its high quality production and programming standards set the bar for the industry and audiences will continue to enjoy the competitions in new ways via BT’s innovative approach as it showcases new technologies.”
BT will pay £400 million each year for the rights – the same price as its previous deal.
Whilst Sky, ITV and sports streaming service DAZN are all believed to have tabled bids, Amazon was reportedly out of the running. The online giant will first wait and see how well its maiden Premier League coverage is received next month.
Commenting on the new deal, industry analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight said: “These were a must win set of rights for the sports broadcaster. More importantly it shows BT’s commitment to showing live sport to enhance its own convergent offerings. BT Sport remains a key part of BT’s strategy for the next few years. BT must be applauded for the superb coverage of the European competitions over recent seasons. Beyond the rights, BT Sport has been a technical partner for UEFA in driving innovations in sports production. Overall, there was no real competition.”