BT retains exclusive rights to show European Football in the UK

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

BT Sport has secured an exclusive deal, beating its rival SKY, to show the UEFA Champions League and Europa League football matches in the UK for the three seasons ending in the summer of 2021 for a sum of £1.18 billion!

This is £300 million more than BT Sport paid for the rights in 2013. In future, each season will cost them £394 million!

The new deal means that ITV – the public service broadcaster – will not be able to broadcast Champions League highlights after the matches have ended.

As a result of this, the new deal has drawn criticism from major sponsors of the Champions League, who have expressed concerns that they will not get as much exposure to audiences as they did under the previous arrangements between SKY and ITV.

However, BT Sport has said that it will make clips and highlights available for free on social media, as well as both of the finals. In fact, last season, BT Sport streamed both finals on ‘YouTube’.

This latest deal covering the most important European football matches in the world shows that TV continues to be the ‘oxygen of sport’ generally, and, not least, association football, which is not only the world’s favourite game but also its most lucrative one!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic, Author and Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’.