BT Pays $1.5 Billion to Keep Champions League Soccer

The BT Group Plc will hold on to the broadcast rights for the Champions League in the UK. However, this came at a price. BT will spend 1.18 billions pounds ($1.45 billion) for the three-year deal, a 32 percent increase. This deal comes amid falling soccer tv viewing.

The former monopoly will pay approximately 394 million pounds for each of the three seasons starting in 2018-2019 and ending in 2020-2021. The service took the deal from Sky plc back in 2013 and paid 299 millions pounds per year under the current deal.

“We’re clearly very pleased to have secured these rights for the next three years,” John Petter, the chief executive officer of BT’s consumer business, said to journalists.

The addition of doubleheader nights with live matches at both 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. means 35 percent more broadcasting slots for BT. He said when asked about the 32 percent increase in charge: “We’re paying more, but we’ve got a huge amount more for it.’’

The Champions League is an annual tournament which brings together the top 32 clubs in Europe. It is the most prestigious tournament in club soccer. The teams that miss out on qualification, including those that have won domestic cups compete in the Europa League, another contest that is part of the BT deal.

Even with the price increase TV rights for European soccer is still cheaper than the same rights for the UK’s Premier League.