Amazon and BBC break BT’s stranglehold on Champions League football | Champions League


Amazon has broken BT’s grip on live Champions League football in the UK, and highlights will be shown on the BBC for the first time under a new deal starting in 2024.

BT have retained the lion’s share of Champions League rights, securing British rights to 187 of 204 games in the new expanded format from 2024, while cutting the price of the next three-year contract by 23% to 917 million pounds.

BT, which has shown Champions League football exclusively in the UK since 2015 after beating then co-holders Sky and ITV with a blockbuster £900million bid, paid £1.2 billion at the last auction in 2019.

Amazon, which in 2018 broke BT and Sky’s duopoly control over Premier League football rights, has struck again, securing 17 Champions League first-choice games on Tuesday night at the US retailer and the biggest deal of sports rights from the UK streaming giant.

“The addition of UEFA Champions League football is a really momentous moment for Prime Video in the UK,” said Alex Green, managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe, which has similar deals in Italy and Germany. .

From 2024, the BBC will become the home of highlights with a new Match of the Day on Wednesday evening. Champions League coverage has not been shown on terrestrial television since 2014.

“Our reach and ability to bring people together is second to none and we couldn’t be more delighted that UEFA has recognized the value of our ability to bring the UEFA Champions League to the widest possible audience across the Kingdom. United,” said the BBC’s Barbara Slater. sports director.

As part of the deal, BT will continue to hold exclusive UK broadcast rights to the Europa League and Europa Conference League, which means a total of 533 matches, including League of champions – a 27% increase reflecting the expansion of UEFA’s club competitions from 2024.

“BT Sport will continue to be the home of UEFA’s club competitions until 2027,” said Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer division. “From 2024, we will be able to show more games than ever before live and exclusive.”

However, observers have wondered whether the loss of exclusive rights to BT’s crown jewel sporting asset could harm the company.

Amazon’s limited number of games are first choice, which the company says ensures they will be coveted games featuring English teams, all the way to the semi-finals if they progress that far, and l The BBC Highlights deal may prove attractive to viewers concerned about the skyrocketing cost of household bills, including pay-TV.

Overall, UEFA are believed to have increased the value of their rights from £1.2bn to around £1.5bn at their latest auction.

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“UEFA was able to increase the value of the rights by opening up the bidding and packages to more players,” said Paolo Pescatore, independent analyst at PP Foresight. “It will not diminish with the fans if they are forced to shell out more in these unprecedented times with the higher cost of living. As BT Sport loses its exclusivity, it offers long-term certainty in the joint venture with Discovery, giving fans more games and for less money.

Last month BT struck a £633m deal with US media company Warner Bros Discovery to create a pay-TV joint venture combining BT Sport and Eurosport, which owns the rights, including pan-European coverage of the Olympics .

BT stated that despite the dilution of its control of the rights, it would continue to make the finale available for free; to date, it has an agreement with YouTube. The new joint venture may or may not decide to continue using YouTube as a free platform.

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