AMAZON AND BBC SECURE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RIGHTS

01 Jul 2022

By: Sport Industry Group

US retailer and streaming giant Amazon is set to disrupt the UK’s football broadcasting landscape by securing a deal to broadcast live Champions League football from 2024, according to multiple reports. The BBC has also confirmed it has secured rights.

Amazon, which continues to build its sports broadcast portfolio with the likes Premier League football, tennis and rugby, is understood to be set to split the UK rights with existing holder BT Sport in a new deal with the governing body, UEFA.

This will also include the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League.

Managing Director of Sport at Amazon Prime Video, Alex Green, seemed to confirm the news with a tweet on the morning of 1st July. “Beyond excited to announce Champions League top pick matches every Tuesday on Amazon Prime Video in UK from 2024” he commented.

It is understood that the overall value of the rights has increased by approximately 20%, with most of the new money coming from Amazon. The total package is now worth roughly £1.5bn over three years.

BT, which has aired Champions League football since 2015 and paid £1.2bn at the last auction for exclusive rights until 2024, will continue to air the majority of the UEFA European competition games.

Marc Allera, Chief Executive of BT’s Consumer Division, said, “BT Sport continues to be the home of the UEFA Club Competitions until 2027 and we are extremely proud to have the privilege of twelve years of broadcasting one of the most exciting competitions in the world.  It is fantastic news for our viewers that from 2024 we will be able to show more games than ever before live and exclusive on BT Sport.” 

Last month, BT struck a £633m deal with US media company Warner Bros Discovery to create a joint venture pay-TV sport business combining BT Sport and Eurosport, home to rights including pan-European Olympics coverage.

Amazon currently shows 20 Premier League games a season in the UK on Prime Video and also broadcasts tennis and some rugby union fixtures. Earlier this year, it paid $1bn (£825m) for the exclusive US rights to the NFL’s Thursday night game until 2033.

The new arrangement will also see highlights return to terrestrial TV for the first time in nearly a decade. The BBC has secured rights to Champions League highlights, which will be broadcast in a new Wednesday night edition of Match of the Day.

On the acquisition of UEFA Champions League highlights, BBC Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said, “We are simply thrilled to have won these rights. Our reach and ability to bring people together is unrivalled and we couldn't be more delighted that UEFA have recognised the value in our ability to bring the UEFA Champions League to the widest possible audience across the UK. This package of highlights and digital content will allow football fans to follow the UEFA Champions League, wherever and however they like.

“The UEFA Champions League is a wonderful addition to our portfolio of football output on the BBC and we can’t wait to get started in 2024!”

The Champions League expands in 2024 from 125 to 189 clubs under the new format agreed by UEFA’s executive committee in May. This means there will more games in each Champions League season to be shared between the broadcasters.