There are reports that BT Sports have acquired the UK broadcast rights to UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches in a £1bn 3 year deal.
(which we mentioned way back in September this year : http://www.satandpcguy.com/blog/2013/09/could-champions-league-football-leave-free-tv-in-the-uk/ )
This would take the matches away from the current shared holders of Sky Sports and ITV from the 2014/15 season.
BT will show a number of matches free-to-air, including the finals of both competitions in a deal that will cost the channel £299m per season for three seasons from 2015-16.
The channel will air all 350 matches live from both competitions. Both the Champions League and Europa League finals will be shown free-to-air, as well as a selection of matches from throughout the competition
From the Guardian:
BT Sport is close to finalising a deal with Uefa to broadcast Champions League matches from 2015, according to reports. An anticipated three-year agreement would also lead to the company showing Europa League fixtures.
If BT Sport succeeds in gaining exclusive rights to Champions League games in the UK, it would deal a significant blow to Sky and ITV, the existing rights holders. It would also take the tournament off free-to-air television for the first time, unless BT Sport followed its Premier League lead and made some matches available to non-subscribers.
The Times and Telegraph report that BT Sport, which entered the football market this season by purchasing the rights to Premier League games, is in final negotiations with European football’s governing body and that those look almost certain to conclude successfully.
The Times says the deal would be worth almost £1bn. BT Sport has paid £738m for three years of Premier League rights.
From the Times:
BT has landed its biggest blow yet in the battle for pay-TV and broadband customers after launching a knockout bid, thought to be worth almost £1 billion, for the rights to broadcast live mid-week Champions League games from 2015.
The Times has learnt that the telecoms company has knocked out both BSkyB and ITV, the current holders of the rights, during bidding this week and has entered exclusive talks with Uefa for the rights packages.
From the Telegraph:
BT Sport was last night on the brink of a stunning victory in the battle for Champions League football after blowing BSkyB and ITV out of the water with a near £1 billion bid for the world’s biggest club competition.
The new broadcaster is understood to have begun final negotiations with Uefa for the exclusive UK live rights for both the Champions League and Europa League for three years from 2015, signalling an end to decades of terrestrial coverage of European club football.
But taking out ITV was nothing compared to toppling the might of BSkyB, which is thought to have come close to matching BT’s £900 million-plus offer, more than double what the former two companies paid to share the current contract back in 2011. An announcement is expected any day that will send shockwaves through English football and represent the biggest shake-up in the established order in sports broadcasting in Britain for years.
Sky had ridiculed its rival for branding its capture of Premier League football as a “game changer” and a source described last night’s news as “the “real game changer”. BT chief executive Gavin Patterson recently gave a hint of his intention, saying: “This is a long-term strategy for us and you can expect us to do a lot more in the future.”
It is understood BT Sport has committed to making certain matches available free-to-air across both the Champions League and Europa League, a tactic it has already employed with its Premier League coverage. Being available to every household with a television in the UK had been ITV’s trump card in its relationship with Uefa that has seen it broadcast the Champions League since the competition’s inception in 1992. That had been an extremely attractive prospect for sponsors, which do not enjoy the same reach on Sky Sports and would have even less exposure on BT Sport if all matches remained behind a paywall.
BT Sports is available in Spain, via satellite, with a monthly subscription of around £12 – £15 per month.