Amazon joins BT for Champions League football rights | Deals | News | Rapid TV News
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Having offered access to select Premier League games over the last three seasons, Amazon has upped its football game in a deal delivering shared access along with previous exclusive incumbent BT Sport to show Champions League football in the UK from 2024-2027.
Champions League 12April2021
The new deal has seen BT Sport gain rights to the majority of the UEFA Champions League games, plus all the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League exclusively live, for a further three seasons, including highlights and in-match clips. BT Sport will continue to make the finals available for all to watch.

BT Sport will show the new format of the three European football competitions, with 12 more teams, more matches than ever before, plus the introduction of an additional “knockout-playoff” round. In each competition, 36 teams will play in a single league format, with those finishing 1-8 progressing to the Round of 16, teams placed 9-24 contesting the additional knockout round, and the bottom 12 teams exiting the competition and no longer dropping down into the UEL and UECL respectively, introducing more jeopardy and must-win knock out matches.

BT Sport noted that the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League were a huge success with a 37% increase in UEFA Champions League viewer hours, driven mainly by the advance of Liverpool to the final against Real Madrid available, and a record breaking 12.6m people tuning in across all platforms.

The costs of the rights awarded to BT Sport is around £305 million per annum. BT expects to pay a deposit of around £61million in July 2022. Following the move of BT Sport into the joint venture being created by BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2022, the JV would pay the rights costs of £305m per annum less the deposit. The planned JV is subject to customary closing conditions, including CMA approval.

“BT Sport continues to be the home of the UEFA Club Competitions until 2027 and we are extremely proud to have the privilege of twelve years of broadcasting one of the most exciting competitions in the world,” said Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s Consumer Division. “It is fantastic news for our viewers that from 2024 we will be able to show more games than ever before live and exclusive on BT Sport.”

In its deal, Amazon has gained first pick rights to matches shown on Tuesday day nights have the first pick of matches on a Tuesday night from the group stages through to the semi-final stage. Commenting on its commitment, Alex Green, the managing director of Amazon Prime Video Sport Europe, said: “The addition of UEFA Champions League football is a truly momentous moment for Prime Video in the UK. Since 2018, we’ve seen millions of Prime members in the UK enjoy live sport on Prime Video, and it’s that passion and energy that has led us to this exciting next step. We can’t wait to bring fans the headline fixture of European football’s most prestigious competition every Tuesday and we’ll have more details to share about our broadcast in the future.”

Assessing the new deal, Paolo Pescatore, a technology, media & telecoms analyst at PP Foresight called the new package a win for all parties. “While BT Sport loses exclusivity, it provides long term certainty going into the JV with Discovery, providing fans with more games and for less money,” he noted.

“UEFA has been able to increase the value of the rights by opening up the tender and packages to more players. This will not go down with fans if they’re forced to fork out more during these unprecedented times with the higher cost of living. More players means fragmentation, but this should not be a huge issue. Amazon is now establishing itself as a key provider of sports in the UK as it continues to steadily beef up its programming. This will help drive Prime subscriptions and sales even further with more live sport through the year.”