BT Sport win exclusive rights to Champions League coverage

The station will broadcast games until at least 2021

BT Sport win exclusive rights to Champions League coverage

Real Madrid won the 2016 Champions League. Picture by: Manu Fernandez/AP/Press Association Images

BT Sport have been confirmed as the exclusive broadcaster for Champions League and Europa League matches in Britain until the end of the 2020-21 season.

The broadcaster, replaced Sky Sports and ITV as the broadcaster at the start of the 2015/16 season. The new deal, which begins at the start of the 2018/19 season sees ITV lose their highlights package. 

After every Champions League matchday, ITV would show highlights to a terrestrial audience, with the likes of Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane and former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon giving their opinions on the games. 

BT have paid over £1.1 billion for the exclusive rights, an increase on the £897million that was paid when the station originally won the rights in 2013.

Viewing figures for the Champions League in Britain have plummeted since ITV lost live rights, and it was expected BT Sport may sub-lease one match each week to a terrestrial provider, such as ITV or Channel 5.  

The new broadcast deal will also see Champions League double-headers introduced for the first time. Matches have traditionally taken place at 7.45pm, with the exception of games in Russia, which kicked off earlier. Under the new deal, there will be two kick-off times (6pm and 8pm). The format is currently used in the Europa League.

BT will also make highlights available to a wider audience, by broadcasting them on their various social media platforms in a bid to negate the loss of no terrestrial coverage.