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“If we thought it was worth more, we’d have paid more”: Fighting talk from Sky as it says rival BT overpaid for League rights

Sky has hit back at rival broadcaster BT, who today revealed it had won the rights to broadcast Champions League and Europa League matches for just shy of £1bn.

Sky, along with ITV, bid for the rights, with reports suggesting Sky came close to matching BT Sport’s offer.

However, Sky said in a statement: “We bid with a clear view of what the rights are worth to us. It seems BT chose to pay far in excess of our valuation.

“There are many ways in which we can invest in our service for customers. We take a disciplined approach and there is always a level at which we will choose to focus on something else. If we thought it was worth more, we’d have paid more."

ITV echoes Sky's statement saying: "ITV is proud to have been the UK free to air broadcaster of the Champions League, since it launched in 1992, and of the Europa League, but we were not prepared to pay over the odds in the latest live rights round."

BT’s three-year deal with Uefa has given it exclusive rights to air all 350 Champions League and Europa League football matches from 2015. In total it paid £299m a season for the rights, in total more than double what the Sky and ITV paid to share the current contract back in 2011.

The Sky spokesman added: “Nothing changes until 2015 and we look forward to 18 more months of live Champions League on Sky Sports. We will now re-deploy resources and continue to bring customers the best choice of TV across our offering.”

BT today said that it will pay a deposit of around £60m this month followed by six-monthly instalments commencing July 2015. Despite these payments, it claimed its financial outlook is unchanged.

The broadcaster said its normalised free cash flow is expected to be around £2.3bn in 2013/14, around £2.6bn in 2014/15 and to grow further in 2015/16.

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