Sky Sports is expected to compete with BT Sports for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) and Europa League television rights, with bids to be made today for the broadcast rights from 2021 to 2024.
Sky has previously stated that the Champions League is not a vital expansion of its portfolio because of the value of Premier League rights. Nonetheless, after the BT engagement obtained as a result of last season’s dramatic event, the club competition opportunity may have become a more attractive prospect for the broadcaster.
Despite the tournament’s success and the value of owning the rights, BT is likely to avoid a bidding war because the broadcaster is currently embarking on a cost-cutting phase in an attempt to increase the accessibility of carrying out the new mobile infrastructure implementation, like 5 G internet.
As well as the UCL’s international appeal, the statuses of Premier League clubs like Manchester City, last season’s finalists Tottenham and reigning UCL champions Liverpool have now been elevated to elite football, which in effect has seen the price of the rights dramatically escalate due to increased domestic demand and dedication.
In addition to the increased domestic demand, UEFA has tried to raise the price of the rights by supplying broadcasters with expanded match-day content following the introduction of staggered kick-off times, enabling audiences to participate in two consecutive live games for three consecutive match days.
In addition, the UCL also appears to have the potential to reinvigorate its relationship with ITV’s free-to-air platform as UEFA could try to capitalise on the tournament’s popularity and expand its reach through terrestrial television.
As well as Sky, internet retailer Amazon has also emerged as a possible rights challenger as it looks to add to its portfolio which includes the two Premier League rights package recently acquired earlier in the year.