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EU: BT Champions League exclusivity deal signals market power shift

 |  March 16, 2017

In a deal worth 35% more than its previous contract, paid subscription service BT Sport reached an agreement to broadcast exclusively UEFA’s elite Club Competitions until 2021. The GBP 1.2 b figure was negotiated despite declining viewing figures and concerns about illegal streaming of matches.

In a shift away from current practice, the exclusivity entails that no weekly highlights of the Champions League or Europa League will be shown on free-to-air broadcaster, ITV. Instead, BT Sport will make clips, highlights and both tournament finals available to watch for free on social media.

The shift away from free-to-air television and onto web based media is a nod to changing viewing habits, especially among younger audiences, and will channel more funds to participating clubs and national football associations. It also potentially sets a precedent that other rights holders may copy. However, it will likely leave many disaffected viewers.

Full Content: BBC News

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