- Is this the end of free-to-air Champions League football? All you need to know about new BT deal
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Is this the end of free-to-air Champions League football? All you need to know about new BT deal
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It means there will no longer be any highlights shows on free-to-air broadcaster ITV, and also brings an end to ongoing speculation that Channel 4 could show a live match each gameweek. However, BT Sport said that it intends to make clips, highlights and both finals available to watch for free on social media. In another big change, Champions League "double header" nights are also on their way, where live matches will kick off at both 6pm and 8pm during the group stages of the tournament. In turn, UEFA has praised BT for its "innovative" approach to broadcasting the games, and has said it's "excited" about the channel's future plans to incorporate social media into its existing coverage. The new deal with UEFA comes despite reports that the footballing organisation has been unhappy with falling viewing figures for the Champions League on the broadcaster. Speaking to Digital Spy last year, BT Sport host Gary Lineker defended the channel's ratings and accused "certain people [of] trying to twist" the figures.
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That will now stretch until , and they have also secured the full highlights package that means the Champions League will no longer be shown on terrestrial TV at all. BT Sport will instead make video clips, weekly highlights and both the Champions League and Europa League finals free on social media. As part of the changes to the Champions League, four teams each from England, Spain, Germany and Italy will now automatically qualify for the group stage, while games will be moved from the standard kick-off time of to either or with double-header nights being introduced in a similar fashion to the current Europa League set-up. 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. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.
Please refresh the page and retry. As is the case now, you will need to become a customer of BT Sport to watch all live matches. This will no longer be the case from the season after next.