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Champions League TV Rights Sold for 1billion to BT Sport

Anyone who took advantage of the free BT Sports package that started in August will be happy to read that the Champions League will join the Premier League on the fledgling sports channel from 2015. The £897million deal is for 3 years and begins in 2015. The contract includes both Champions League and Europa League matches, matches that are currently shown on ITV and Sky.

BT Sport has the rights to show all 350 matches from the two European competitions and promises that it will make some matches available for free. Word is that the Champions League final will be shown for free along with one match from each British team participating in the competition.

This is the first time that the broadcasting rights for Europe’s top two competitions have been sold to one broadcaster so it’s hard to assess the value of a rights package that includes exclusivity for the first time, but Sky, who also bid for the rights, have called the deal “far in excess” of its valuation. You would expect Sky Sports to know a thing or two about a football competition’s valuation after they played such an important role in the development of the Premier League, so perhaps BT will find themselves with a football rights deal they can’t make money from, like ITV Sport did with the Football League during the 2001/2002 season.

ITV’s response was pretty similar to Sky’s. “We were not prepared to pay over the odds in the latest live rights round," read a statement from the free-to-air broadcaster. They added, “Viewers will be able to continue to watch both competitions free on ITV through to 2015 and we remain the home of live England football.”

As you’d expect, the noises from the BT Sport camp are very positive, “I am thrilled that BT Sport will be the only place where fans can enjoy all the live action from the Champions League and Europa League,” Gavin Patterson, BT Chief Exec, said.

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