I was a little surprised to wake to the news over the weekend that BT Sport has won the UEFA Champions League rights from the 2015 football season, moving the coverage away from ITV and Sky for the first time.
I wasn’t taken aback about ITV to be honest. I still find their coverage a little dated, a common problem with terrestrial TV coverage at the moment in my opinion, but I was very surprised that BSkyB didn’t do everything in their power to ensure they remained in the game, so to speak. However, £897million isn’t exactly small change – even for the all powerful Murdoch empire.
It comes as no surprise that shares for BSkyB have subsequently plummeted. This is a real hammer blow – one I don’t think they expected. This a huge shift in power and it will be interesting to see how BT Sport markets their new signing – probably the biggest signing in football of late. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I thought BT Sport might fall by the wayside, especially after watching Setanta and ESPN arrive and disappear from our screens over the past couple of years. Credit to BT though, they really did announce themselves onto the scene well with a big launch, big signings and this latest news has shook the market.
My biggest worry though is as a fan of football, Sky’s coverage of the Champions League really is second to none. The line up of Jeff Stelling, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Redknapp, Souness and the recently impressive Michael Ballack is top notch – great opinions of the game and all players that have experienced top level European football (Redknapp is the only exception). Will BT invest in the line-up and convince the likes of Neville and Ballack to move sides? Not so sure.
It does however make this season even more interesting as BT Sport really do have a point to prove with their remaining Premier League fixtures