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BT Sport could be tempted to bid for the live broadcast rights to the FIFA World Cup in future, it has been suggested.

Marc Watson, BT TV's Chief Executive, hinted that the broadcaster could mount an ambitious coup on coverage of global football's showpiece event - long the preserve of the BBC and ITV.

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The FIFA World Cup remains on the UK's protected list of sports events which must be shown on free-to-air television, meaning BT Sport would have to ensure open access.

But BT Sport has already lifted its paywall for one Barclays Premier League match - Crystal Palace v Arsenal on Saturday October 26th - and announced plans to show some UEFA Champions League matches for free from 2015-16.

As such, it is far from impossible the broadcaster - with its proven financial clout - could target the FIFA World Cup as a brand-building and customer-acquisition exercise.

The Guardian reported Mr Watson as saying BT Sport has been able to pay "some pretty eye-watering sums" for sports rights due to the "big and lucrative" nature of the TV, home phone and broadband market.

He was referring specifically to the £900 million deal recently agreed for UEFA European club football - around three times as much as ITV and Sky paid under the previous rights contract.

"I know that some have questioned how much we have paid for football rights, especially in the last couple of weeks, but the truth is that money makes a difference in a highly competitive market," Mr Watson said.

"We only pay what we think the rights are genuinely worth to us, and we hope that's enough to win it."

Speaking specifically about the FIFA World Cup, Mr Watson said football's world governing body is "welcome in his office at any time" to discuss broadcast options going forward.

However, he expressed the view that there would be certain obstacles to this particular deal.

"We will look at all opportunities but I think getting the World Cup off BBC and ITV would be a challenge," Mr Watson stated.

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