BT Sport wins rights to Champions League and Europa League football - leaving ITV and Sky Sports with nothing from 2015

The European football adds to their capture of Premier League rights and Premiership Rugby

BT Sport has claimed it is now “the natural home of football” after securing the exclusive UK rights to show Champions League and Europa League matches.

The broadcaster announced on Saturday it had agreed an exclusive deal worth almost £900million for the rights to show both UEFA competitions for three seasons from 2015/16. It said the deal was proof it was "here to stay".

It is the first time a single UK broadcaster has won the exclusive live rights for all 350 matches from the two tournaments per season.

Currently Sky and ITV hold the rights to show Champions League matches.

John Petter, BT Consumer chief executive, believes the new deal is great news for UK sports fans and shows that BT Sport is no "marketing gimmick".

He told Press Association Sport: "I think it says that BT Sport is very much here to stay.

"The argument has been made that BT Sport is a marketing gimmick or a flash in the pan, and those things just aren't true.

"These rights are going to run through until 2018, so it's proof that BT Sport is here to stay and it's changing the way sport is done in this country because this gives us more top-class football than Sky, and this makes BT the natural home of football."

BT has pledged to make European football "far more accessible and affordable to fans", and will show a selection of the games for free on BT Sport even to homes that have not signed up to the channels.

The finals of each tournament will be shown for free, while each British team involved in Europe will feature for free at least once each season.

Petter added: "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 (referring to Sky customers) and we will make the competition far more accessible and affordable to British sports fans."

BT has agreed to pay around £299million per season for the UEFA deal, a figure Sky feel is "far in excess" of its own valuation for the rights to the European matches.

A Sky statement read: "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.

"Nothing changes until 2015 and we look forward to 18 more months of live Champions League on Sky Sports."

Asked if he felt BT had paid over the odds, Petter said: "Of course I don't feel that.

"These were the crown jewels properties for Sky. I'm sure they'll be kicking themselves today.

"I feel for them obviously, but they got it wrong."

Telecommunications giant BT launched its UK sports channels on August 1 this year.

BT Sport is showing 38 live Premier League matches that it paid £738million for over three seasons.

The BT channels are also showing live FA Cup games and live football from the top leagues in Germany, Italy, France and Scotland plus the FA Women's Super League.

Away from football, there will also be rugby union and women's tennis, plus MotoGP coverage from next year.

Asked if he was disappointed with any viewing figures so far for any of the shows, Petter said: "Far from it, I'm absolutely thrilled with the viewing figures, they are extremely strong.

"We're very pleased with the progress that BT Sport has made."

PA

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick