BT Sport have stunned the UK sport broadcast market by securing exclusive media rights to the UEFA Champions League & UEFA Europa League for £897 million.
This is the first time a single UK broadcaster has won the exclusive live rights to all matches from both tournaments and follows BT’s entrance in the broadcast market through the securing of Premier League rights.
BT will showcase 350 matches from both tournaments usurping both BSkyB and ITV who has previously held the rights in the UK. The rights run for three seasons from 2015/16 and BT will pay around £299 million a season for the rights.
BT has also announced it will show a selection of these new matches for free on BT Sport, even to homes that have not signed up to the channels. Each participating British team will feature for free at least once each season. The finals of each tournament will be showcased in this fashion along with a selection of top matches from earlier rounds.
Gavin Patterson, BT chief executive, said today: “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.” “BT Sport has got off to a strong start with customers enjoying what we have to offer. We have attracted millions of customers by giving sport back to the fans, and we can assure people who want to catch all the action, that European football will be far more accessible and affordable with BT.”
Commenting on the award of rights, Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events SA Marketing Director, said: “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.”
The rights are expected to drive additional growth in BT Consumer revenue and profits over the medium-term. BT will pay a deposit of around £60m in November 2013 followed by six-monthly instalments commencing July 2015.
BSkyB Shares Plummet
Following the news, shares of BSkyB dropped more than 9% with £1.4 billion lost from the stock market value.