Rumours are circulating that Sky and ITV want to get back in the Champions League game, potentially snatching a key asset away from rival BT Sport.
Unnamed ‘sources’ and ‘persons familiar with the matter’ have hinted to the Guardian and Bloomberg that Sky will make a “financially disciplined” challenge for the broadcast rights to the 2021-24 games on Monday.
Last month, the Times reported that ITV – which previously shared Champions League coverage with Sky – though ITV’s bid would be expected to be significantly lower than what Sky or BT would offer. UEFA, said to be unhappy with decreased viewing figures, may accept a lower bid from a free to air broadcaster.
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BT Sport, which has the rights to show all 351 of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games until 2020-21, spent £897m on securing rights to the games back in 2015, and then £1.18bn in 2017 to extend that coverage for another three seasons.
As with the Premier League, rights to Champions League games are sold in bundles. The gold and silver packages mean that one broadcaster may end up with the first and third picks of 31 games, while another would gun for second and fourth picks, and rights to the group stage matches.
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Sky could in theory open its wallet for all of them, or, if the Guardian’s source suggests, it might bid for just a portion of games, giving ITV a free hand to bid for the rest. Equally Amazon, which has dipped a toe into live streams of Premier League games, could bolster its Prime offering by adding Champions League coverage.