BT share price rises as group unveils Champions League coverage details

on Jun 10, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

BT Group Plc (LON:BT.A) will offer live coverage of UEFA Champions League and the Europa League matches to customers of its TV service for free next season, the blue-chip company has said. The move comes after the telecoms giant outbid rival Sky Plc (LON:SKY) for the three year deal.

As of 13:30 BST, BT’s share price had added 0.64 percent to 441.60p, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has slipped into the red in today’s session. The shares have added just under nine percent over the past year.
BT announced in a statement today that the 351 matches from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League would be free for customers who take BT TV. Customers of BT Broadband will be able to add the BT Sport pack for £5 a month.
“This is a new chapter for European football on TV,” John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said in the statement. “BT Sport will show hundreds of live matches throughout the tournament using the very latest technology. Our presenters and experts will also provide the smartest insight and analysis.” The blue-chip group also announced that Gary Lineker, Jake Humphrey and Rio Ferdinand will front the live UEFA Champions League coverage.
BT paid £897 million in November 2013 to secure the rights after outbidding Sky. Sky Sports’ managing director Barney Francis yesterday sought to sour BT’s upcoming announcement by revealing in a blog post that the last five seasons had witnessed a 36-percent drop in Champions League audiences.
“Last season, we saw our lowest ever average match audience and not a single European game appeared in our top 40 football matches,” Francis wrote. “Overall, Champions League accounts for just 2.5% of Sky Sports viewing, while the Premier League is seven times bigger.”
Sky’s share price, however, has declined in afternoon trade and currently stands 0.72 percent lower at 1,018.65p. Liberum reiterated its sell rating on the stock today, ahead of the BT announcement.
“The problem for Sky here is that their customers are increasingly asking whether they are getting bang for their buck with Sky,” the analysts said, as quoted by the Guardian, adding that “an aggressive marketing campaign by BT highlighting that it has exclusivity of Champions League rights is likely to fuel this”.
As of 14:29 BST, Tuesday, 09 June, BT Group plc share price is 442.00p.