BT Sport have confirmed that they will be broadcasting the upcoming Champions League and Europa League finals for free via their YouTube channel.
It was widely reported in April that the move was being considered, and today the company have confirmed that the showpiece fixtures on 28 and 18 May respectively will be free-to-air. Both finals will also be shown on the Freeview BT Sport Showcase channel.
It’s a big move for both BT and UEFA. Free sports streaming has been in the news recently on the back of the NFL’s partnership with Twitter to broadcast games live for free in the US. The move will be seen as a test, with engagement and viewership no doubt being key to whether it’s repeated more often in the future.
John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said:
“We’ve always said we wanted to give top quality sport back to the people and making the UEFA Champions League and Europa League finals free to everyone in the UK does this in a big way.
“We’re also bringing BT Sport to a new generation of younger sports fans who view their entertainment online, through social media and on their mobile devices.
“We plan to make these finals the most social sports broadcast ever, with lots of exciting content in the build-up and on the night across YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vine.
“BT Sport has pioneered the way when it comes to new technologies and digital platforms, whether that’s live Ultra HD, our immersive BT Sport App or red button functionality on YouView.
“Today’s announcements will take this further, and there’s plenty more that we’re looking at, whether that’s more programming in live Ultra HD, new App developments or our recent Virtual Reality trials at the FA Cup semi-finals and NBA.”
The mention of virtual reality is particularly interesting. In recent weeks both Sky and UEFA have tested such broadcasts, with Sky choosing the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal, and UEFA opting to test their technology at both of the recent Champions League semi-finals.
BT Sport currently hold the exclusive live rights to the Champions League after their three year £897m deal began at the start of the current season.
This season’s Champions League final is between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, with the Europa League being contested by Liverpool and Sevilla.
Source: BT Sport