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BT Sport retains Champions League rights until 2024

Rob Harris
Getty

The rights to broadcast Champions League games in Britain have been retained by BT Sport for another three seasons in a deal worth more than £1.2 billion.

The telecommunications company will continue to show every game live and air highlights in the 2021-2024 rights cycle as the competition’s only British broadcaster.

Britain is Uefa’s most lucrative market for Champions League rights. The 2018-2021 contract is worth £394 million per year.

Uefa has protected the value of Champions League rights in Britain. That contrasts with the Premier League, which has seen domestic broadcast revenue drop 8 per cent from this season under the terms of deals held predominantly by Sky and BT. However, its international revenue has risen.

The Uefa deal means games in European football’s elite competition in Britain will remain on subscription television, although BT has made the final available for free.

BT faced opposition from satellite broadcaster Sky, which was bought last year by American telecommunications conglomerate Comcast. It was trying to regain rights it held until 2015.

Free-to-air channel ITV was also exploring regaining rights, having shown some games live until 2015.

English teams have contested the last two Champions League finals, with Liverpool losing to Real Madrid in 2018 before beating Premier League rival Tottenham in last season’s showpiece.

The 2023 final will be staged in London at Wembley Stadium.

BT Sport is part of the former state-owned telecoms monopoly, British Telecom, which became a private business in the 1980s.

The sports broadcasting operation, which began in 2013 after winning some live rights to Premier League games, is based at the former broadcast base for the 2012 London Olympics.

AP