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BT Sport snatch Champions League from Sky

ESPN staff
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Bayern Munich earned £6.5 million for winning the Champions League © PA Photos
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BT Sport have snatched the exclusive rights to live Champions League football from under the noses of Sky and ITV in a £897 million three-year deal.

It brings to an end two decades of live Champions League football on terrestrial TV, with BT Sport winning the rights to show all 350 matches, including the Europa League, each season from 2015 following talks with European governing body UEFA.

The broadcaster will also make the final and selected matches free to air, in a move that will "shake up the UK TV market" according to a spokesman. Sky and ITV currently share the rights.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson said: "I am thrilled that BT Sport will be the only place where fans can enjoy all the live action from the Champions League and Europa League."

The £299 million-a-year contract is more than double the current deal, with the clubs involved in the two tournaments set to benefit.

The 32 teams in the Champions League group stage currently earn a £2.8 million participation payment each as well as £396,000 for every match. The winner can earn £6.5 million, with the runners-up receiving £3.73 million.

"These games are going to need to be chargeable, that's true. But they'll be far more affordable than today's competition," said BT Sport consumer division chief John Petter.

"So today, to get the whole competition, you typically have to pay Sky £40 or so a month. The pricing is not being announced today, but I can say that this will be far more affordable than currently."

BT launched their UK Sports channels at the beginning of August, and have already spent £738 million over three years for the rights to show 38 live Premier League matches this season. Sky paid £2.3 billion for 116 matches a season.

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