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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital