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BT Sport pays £1.18bn to keep Champions League TV rights

Monday, March 6th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

BT has paid £1.18bn to retain the exclusive TV rights to Champions League and Europa League football for a further three years.

The telecoms giant will pay around £394m a year from the 2018/19 season – up from around £299m under the current deal.

The £1.18bn paid by BT shows the spiralling cost of sports TV rights.

It is a 32% increase on the £897m it cost BT to win the rights to European football’s top club competitions for the first time in 2013.

Up until then, Sky had shared the rights with ITV in a deal worth around £400m.

The new agreement gives BT Sport exclusivity across all live games but also includes highlights, meaning there will be no weekly highlights shown free-to-air on ITV.

BT said it will continue to innovate around the broadcasting of matches, making games available in 4K ultra HD with Dolby Atmos sound and via the BT Sport app.

It will also make goals, weekly highlights, a UEFA magazine show and both finals available for free on social media. The broadcaster streamed both finals on YouTube last season.

John Petter, BT’s consumer CEO, said: “The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are two of the best competitions in the world and we would like to thank UEFA for choosing us as their exclusive broadcast partner in the UK.

“The UEFA Champions League is due to get even stronger and we are delighted that fans will be able to enjoy two live matches a night for the first time.”

'Pushing the boundaries'

Guy Laurent Epstein, UEFA marketing director, said: “BT Sport has proved to be an innovative broadcast partner, pushing the boundaries and covering the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in new ways.

“BT have delivered strong audiences in the UK and we are excited about their future plans for the use of social media which will engage a growing fanbase that consumes sport in different ways.”

Price hikes announced in January mean BT TV customers will have to start paying for BT Sport from next season.

The channels are currently free to BT TV customers but will cost £3.50 from 1 August.

BT broadband customers who watch via the BT Sport app will continue to pay £5 a month.

BT broadband customers who watch through a Sky satellite service will have to pay an extra £1.50 from 2 April, taking the cost to £7.50 a month.

The price for non-BT broadband customers is going up by £1, to £22.99 a month.

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