BT Sport has delivered a shocking blow to ITV and Sky by scooping completely exclusive rights to screen UEFA Champions League and Europa League football, from the 2015/2016 season.
The three-season, near £900m deal leaves current and long-time broadcasters Sky Sports and ITV with nothing, and gives die-hard European football fans little choice but to sign up for BT's offering.
Arriving on the scene this summer, bringing access to 38 live Premier League games a season, BT had promised to shake up the televised football landscape in the UK, and this deal does exactly that.
The company says the deal will make European football far more affordable and accessible to fans, despite free-to-air ITV channels showing live games from each round of the Champions League.
Here to stay
John Petter, BT Sport consumer chief told the Press Association the deal, which runs until 2018 proved that BT Sport wasn't a marketing gimmick but was "here to stay"
He said: "We're extremely pleased, I think this is great news for British sports fans too because the competition today, to get the whole thing, you've really got to pay £40 or plus a month and we will make the competition far more accessible and affordable to British sports fans."
BT also said all British clubs participating in European competition will appear on the channel free, at least once a season, throughout the three year agreement.
Regardless of that, it's a blow to supporters who'll now have to pay expensive monthly subscriptions to both BT Sports and Sky Sports if they wish to have live access to all of the game's top action.
Sky said BT's bid was "far in excess" of its own valuation, but customers will surely be disappointed that the broadcaster has failed to hold on to one of its key selling points.
- BT said 2013 is the year it claims British Sport. Getting more difficult to argue with that bold prediction now?
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