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BT beats Sky to retain Champions League rights in 1.2 billion pound deal
March 6, 2017 / 7:26 AM / 9 months ago

BT beats Sky to retain Champions League rights in 1.2 billion pound deal

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s BT has beaten arch-rival Sky to win the right to broadcast Champions League matches for another three years in a 1.2 billion pound ($1.45 billion) deal.

A logo is pictured on a backdrop before a news conference after an UEFA Executive Board meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

BT, Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile operator, said it had agreed to pay around 394 million pounds a season for the exclusive rights from 2018/19 to show matches featuring the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City.

The former state-owned telecoms group will pay nearly a third more than it has been paying to screen the competition since 2015.

The company first won the rights to show the Champions League in 2013, beating Sky with a deal worth 299 million pounds a year that signalled its willingness to go head-to-head with its rival in the sports broadcasting market.

It has bundled soccer coverage in with its broadband packages, starting with some English Premier league games in 2013, to help protect its leadership in the market.

Sky, which built its business by showing the domestic Premier League tournament, has said it is now more than a sports broadcaster, as it also owns the rights to show some of the most popular U.S. drama and films.

In 2015 it agreed to pay 4.2 billion pounds to retain the biggest number of Premier League matches in a three-year deal, almost double the amount it paid for its previous package.

BT said it was in a strong position to monetise the European matches through subscription, wholesale, commercial, and advertising revenues.

($1 = 0.8141 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton

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