BT Sport and Uefa are set to ink a three-year deal, worth an estimated £1bn, for the exclusive rights to air all 350 Champions League and Europa League football matches from 2015.
Last night, 8 November, the broadcaster was in final talks with Uefa as it outbid ITV and rival BSkyB, which reportedly came close to matching BT’s £1bn offer.
Helping its bid, and pleasing sponsors, was BT Sport’s agreement to make certain matches available free-to-air across both Leagues. In total it paid £299m a season for the rights.
Commenting on the win, which marks the first time in decades that the Champions League and Europa League have not be shown on terrestrial TV, Gavin Patterson, BT chief executive said: "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.”
Long term Uefa partner, ITV, is understood to be now pitching for highlights packages.
The decision will come as a blow to Sky, who has shared Champions League rights with ITV since 2008. The broadcaster was reportedly so desperate to win the bid that it offered to sub-let some matches to ITV to offer some free-to-air coverage.
BT Sport, which currently has around two million subscribers, recently agreed a £738m three-year deal to show Premier League football alongside Sky.