BT Sport will be the new UK home of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League football, following a tender process in which BT won the exclusive live broadcast rights to all 350 matches from both tournaments. The rights run for three seasons from 2015/16.
This is the first time a single UK broadcaster has won the exclusive live rights to all matches from both tournaments. The hundreds of additional top tier matches will boost BT Sport and make it the natural home for football fans who wish to see the very best European sides pitted against each other.
BT has shaken up the UK TV market with BT Sport and it today pledged to make its new matches far more accessible and affordable for fans who wish to enjoy all the action. It 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.
The finals of each tournament will be showcased in this fashion along with a selection of top matches from earlier rounds. Fans will also be delighted to know that each participating British team will feature for free at least once each season.
BT Sport already boasts a very strong line-up of live sport coverage from Fridays to Sundays and the new mid-week games will ensure the channels are even stronger, with fantastic live football being broadcast regularly throughout the week.
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 UEFA Champions League, which features the top Barclays Premier League football teams, is an incredibly popular tournament with the total UK audience being around 30 million viewers on average in recent seasons . In addition to the top teams from England, Celtic have also featured, having qualified for the main stages of the tournament via earlier rounds.
The UEFA Europa League, which was won last season by Chelsea, currently features the fifth placed Barclays Premier League team as well as the winners of the FA Cup and League Cup. Teams that drop out of the UEFA Champions League group stages also feature in the tournament.
BT Sport is the UK's newest and most vibrant sports TV service, with three channels showing live top tier action from the Barclays Premier League and the Aviva Premiership as well as a host of other sport. BT has more than two million customers who take the service and the channels reach around four million homes when BT’s wholesale deal with Virgin Media is taken into account.
It is also the home for top European league football, showing regular live matches from Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue1 and Italy's Serie A. This means many of the stars who will feature in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will already be familiar to BT Sport viewers.
BT Sport is free to BT Broadband customers in the UK, with live and catch-up programming available via BT TV, Sky and Virgin Media. Live and catch-up content is also available to BT broadband customers via BTSport.com and the BT Sport mobile and tablet apps.
Not a subscriber? Find out how to register for BT Sport at www.bt.com/sport