Amazon has secured the UK broadcast rights for the UEFA Champions League in a deal worth UK£1.5 billion ($2.6 billion AUD).
Through a split coverage deal with Pay-TV network BT Sport – UEFA’s existing broadcast partner – Amazon will have first pick of matches on a Tuesday night through to the semi-finals. BT will retain the rest of the rights to the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. The new pact will cover European football’s club competitions for the 2024 to 2027 rights cycle.
BT Sport has aired the Champions League since 2015, after snatching the rights from Sky Sports and ITV in a three-year deal worth UK£299 million ($529 million AUD). BT Sport renewed its contract for European club soccer’s premier competition from 2021 to 2024 for $1.7 billion AUD.
For its new deals, UEFA has opted to abandon exclusivity for rights from 2024/25 due to the increased number of matches in the Champions League when the tournament’s group stage rises from 32 to 36 teams.
UK public service broadcaster the BBC will also air highlights of European football’s top club competition for the first time, with a Wednesday night Match of the Day to round up the Champions League action.
For Amazon, securing the Champions League rights for its Prime Video streaming service is its biggest move in the UK sports market since its landmark deal in 2018 for select rounds of Premier League matches, breaking BT Sport and Sky Sports’ stranglehold on English football’s top flight.
Amazon Prime Video already broadcasts the Champions League in Germany, where it secured a deal worth around €90 million ($137 million AUD) a year back in December 2019. That deal runs from 2021 to 2024.
The total broadcast and media revenue from the 2024 to 2027 cycle is projected to reach $7.6 billion AUD per season, a big increase on the current $5.2 billion AUD UEFA currently brings in annually for its club competitions.
Discussions are ongoing between UEFA, the ECA and the European Leagues group over how that revenue will be divided up.