BT Spends £1.2bn on Keeping European Football a Secret

By Gary Cutlack on at

BT, the telephones company that will be thought of as a telephones company forever whether it likes it or not, is still trying to pretend it's secretly been a TV broadcaster all along. It's agreed to spend a staggering £1.18bn on keeping the rights to the European Championship League football tournament for another three years, for the benefit of a handful of men who can be bothered jumping through its app and streaming hoops to see it.

At least it keeps it out of the hands of Sky, with the satellite broadcaster not able to come up with the extra money needed to outbid BT. The previous three-year deal saw BT pay around £300m a season, so that's around a 30 per cent premium BT's just paid so it can associate itself with sport.

And there will be even more football on the football nights too, thanks to UEFA fiddling with the format a little to allow some "double header" days from the 2018/19 season, when group stage games will kick off at 6pm and 8pm to make sporting men even keener to book out the living room for Wednesday evenings.

And to stop advertisers complaining about the lack of visibility that comes from being hidden away on a phone company's app, some "clips" and "weekly highlights" of the goals and pretending to be hurt stuff will be distributed for free via social media, plus the finals will be streamed on YouTube; an admission that no one watches BT Sport. [BT]

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