BT Sport will remain the home of UEFA football in the UK until 2021, under a new deal signed by the broadcaster.
BT shelled out a whopping £1.2 billion for exclusive live rights to the UEFA Champions League and Europa League until 2021. BT Sport has been showing both competitions since 2015, so this new deal is an extension of the current arrangement.
BT Sport is a subscription service, but BT has said it will make clips, weekly highlights and the finals of both competitions available to watch for free on social media.
There was some speculation that BT would sublet some games to Channel 4, so anyone with a terrestrial TV licence could watch them without paying any extra. At the moment, there's been no news regarding a potential deal between the two broadcasters.
But for the first time, the deal gives BT Sport exclusivity across all live games and highlights, meaning ITV can no longer show its weekly highlights programme.
From the 2018-19 season, the Champions League will feature 'double-header' nights in the group stage, with matches kicking off at both 6pm and 8pm UK time. It will also see Europe's four top domestic leagues – England, Spain, Germany and Italy – guaranteed four places each in the group stage, meaning more clashes between the top European teams.
"We are delighted to have renewed these rights," said John Petter, consumer CEO at BT. "The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are two of the best competitions in the world and we would like to thank UEFA for choosing us as their exclusive broadcast partner in the UK.
"The UEFA Champions League is due to get even stronger and we are delighted that fans will be able to enjoy two live matches a night for the first time."