BT Sport has retained the UK broadcasting rights to the Champions League and will continue to air the competition between 2021 and 2024.
It comes after reports that Sky Sports and ITV were seeking to rival the platform and pickup the rights, there was also talk that DAZN may use Europe’s premier competition to enter the UK market.
It was also previously rumoured that Amazon may seek to strengthen its sports portfolio with the rights, however the online giant reportedly refrained from bidding for the rights.
BT will pay £400m each year for the rights, and outlines its in a strong position to monetise this investment through subscriptions, wholesale access, commercial, and advertising revenues from the competition.
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.”
Value and engagement of the competition has increased in recent years, with the success of English clubs growing and UEFA has also done its best to elevate the value of the rights, providing broadcasters with deeper content on a matchday through staggered kick-off times, meaning viewers can engage with two consecutive live games for three consecutive match days.
The tournament is the most sought after in Europe and the acquisition will also see BT continues to broadcast the Europa League and the newly formed Europa Conference League.
In the US, CBS recently confirmed that it landed the Champions League rights to the competition for the next rights cycle.
European football’s governing body also recently announced that the 2023 final will see the showpiece event return to Wembley stadium.
Insider Insight: For fans, the news will likely be seen as positive with BT’s coverage of the Champions League widely being praised, providing fans with an abundance of content from the Goals Show, to the unique online content the channel provides.
Furthermore, BT’s retention of the rights means that the UK doesn’t have another entry, which means fans won’t have to pay out to another broadcaster in order to watch football.