BT Sport pays £1.2bn to retain hold on Champions League rights until 2024

BT was up against bids from broadcasters including Sky.

BT: retains Champions League rights
BT: retains Champions League rights

BT Sport has retained its hold on the exclusive rights to show Uefa Champions League, Europa League and new Europa Conference League matches in the UK between 2021 and 2024 in a deal worth £1.2bn.

The telecoms and content provider has held the rights since 2015, when it agreed to pay £897m to Uefa, followed by a subsequent agreement for 2018-2021, worth £1.2bn.

But in the build-up to today’s news, there was speculation around other broadcasters outbidding BT, in particular Sky.

BT Sport will become the sole UK home of top-flight European football, earning the rights to 420 games across the three competitions.

While it is costing the company the same sum as the previous three-year deal, BT will be able to broadcast and stream an additional 77 live matches. The rights also include highlights and in-match clips.

Last year saw BT Sport increase its Champions League viewing hours by 26% on the previous year, with the Liverpool vs Spurs final – which was made available for anyone to view via social media – attracting 11.3 million viewers across multiple platforms.

BT expects to pay an initial deposit of £80m this month, followed by six cash payments every year from 2021 to 2024, totalling £1.2bn. Each year’s rights will cost £400m.

Marc Allera, chief executive of BT's consumer division, said: "BT Sport leads the way when it comes to Uefa Champions League coverage and we’re very excited to continue to bring our world-class coverage to one of the most exciting football competitions in the world – whether that’s broadcasting 12 games simultaneously or delivering industry leading images in 4K UHD.

"With increasingly more ways to watch our content, with more games on show than ever before and alongside our excellent line-up of other competitions and sports, BT Sport is going from strength to strength."

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