BT has secured exclusive rights to football's two major European club competitions until mid-2021, in a deal that has big implications for British broadcasting.
The telecoms giant has invested a huge sum to secure the rights to the Uefa Champions League and Europa Cup beyond its current deal until 2018, paying out £394 million a year.
It’s a key deal for multiple reasons, not least because it shows that BT is doubling down on football after investing massive amounts in the past few years to become a meaningful competitor to 500-pound gorilla Sky.
Although football appears to be a loss-leader for BT, it has clearly established the company at the forefront of the subscription broadcast industry, competing with Sky in an area that had previously been both the latter’s heartland and a huge factor in making satellite television a success.
Beating Sky to the European rights last time around had been seen as a major statement of intent by BT, and the new deal should underline the company’s strategy of paying big money for the major sporting events.
The new deal will also see the arrival of 'double header' nights, with live matches at 6pm and 8pm during the group stages of the Champions League.
John Petter, Consumer CEO at BT, said: “We are delighted to have renewed these rights.
"The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are two of the best competitions in the world and we would like to thank UEFA for choosing us as their exclusive broadcast partner in the UK.
“The UEFA Champions League is due to get even stronger and we are delighted that fans will be able to enjoy two live matches a night for the first time.”