BT Sport has picked up the rights to broadcast all UEFA Champions League games for the next three years in a deal worth £900 million.
The broadcaster will have access to all 350 games in both the Champions League and the UEFA Europa League starting with the 2015/16 season.
The £897 million deal is the first time a single broadcaster has won all match rights. It defeated rivals BskyB and ITV to with the exclusive rights after just one round of bidding. ITV is thought to have offered around £190 million with Sky upping its offer to £500 million. The combined bid would have been well short of what BT was prepared to pay with its bid of £299 million a year.
Read our guide to BT Sport and How To Get BT SportBT said that it would make a number of these matches free-to-view, even to homes that have not signed up for the new channels.
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.”
Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events 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.”
In a statement, Sky said: “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 satellite broadcaster said.
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