By Associated Press
LONDON — UEFA has sold the rights to broadcast Champions League soccer games in Britain for more than $1.5 billion with BT Sport signing up for another three seasons, The Associated Press has learned.
BT will continue to show every game live and air highlights for three seasons from 2021-2024 as Britain’s exclusive broadcaster, a person familiar with the three-year deal said Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deal ahead of an official announcement.
Britain is UEFA’s most lucrative market for Champions League rights.
The deal is not worth less than the 1.2 billion pounds ($1.55 billion) that BT paid for the 2018-2021 rights. Precise details of the finances were not available.
BT and UEFA declined comment.
It means games in European soccer’s elite competition in Britain will remain on subscription television, although BT has made the final available free.
BT, a unit of BT Group /zigman2/quotes/209006687/delayed UK:BT.A +0.22% , faced opposition from satellite broadcaster Sky, which was bought last year by American telecommunications conglomerate Comcast /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +0.45% and was trying to regain rights it held until 2015. Free-to-air channel ITV was also exploring regaining rights, having shown one game per round until 2015.
English teams have contested the last two finals, with Liverpool losing to Real Madrid in 2018 before beating Premier League rival Tottenham in last season’s showpiece.
UEFA last week struck a deal in the United States with CBS and Univision, who will pay a combined $140 million a season for Champions League rights from 2021 in a three-year deal. That is an increase from the $100 million in the current Turner/Univision deal.
The American deal is yet to be announced but it was reported on Friday by the AP.