BBC loses more live sports as Channel 4 outbids it for broadcast rights to Women’s Euro 2017
BBC showed the previous women's Euro tournament in 2013
Under the terms of the deal, Channel 4 will show all of England and Scotland’s matches, including their opening fixture which sees the two face off against each other on 19 July.
Having the broadcast rights to the tournament, which is being held in Holland, marks the first time that the broadcaster has aired live international sport and represents something of a blow for the BBC, which secured the rights to the Women’s World Cup in Canada last year.
“We’re thrilled to have secured the 2017 Uefa Women’s Euros on Channel 4,” said Stephen Lyle, Channel 4’s commissioning editor for sport. “With Scotland there for the first time and England’s Lionesses at the top of their game, I believe this tournament is going to be one of the sporting highlights of the summer.”
The BBC previously held the broadcast rights to the 2013 Women's Euros in Sweden and so being outbid for this year’s tournament will come as a blow to the broadcaster, which has seen its live sports coverage dwindle due to cost saving measures. This has included the loss of The Open to Sky Sports and exiting its Formula One broadcast deal early which Channel 4 subsequently took over.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “We’re disappointed not to have retained the rights to the Women’s Euros despite our unparalleled support for the game, the recent qualification matches and past tournaments.
“We’re proud of our contribution to the growth of women’s football in the UK, highlighted by the competitiveness for these rights, and we’re pleased that the matches will remain free to air. The BBC’s commitment to women’s football remains incredibly strong with our extensive coverage of the Women’s Super League and FA Cup across TV, radio and online platforms. We wish the tournament well.”
Looking at what the deal means for the broader spectrum of women’s football, it ensures that the broadcast coverage remains on free to air television, something which Chelsea and England international, Eniola Aluko, has insisted is crucial for the growth of the women’s game.