By Tom Parsons
May 12 – BT Sport has announced it will show the Champions League and Europa League finals free-to-air on its YouTube channel and freeview channel after recent criticism about the broadcaster’s low viewing figures for European football on the pay channels.
The Champions League final, being held on the May 28 between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, will be one of the most watched games of 2016 in the UK though English support for Liverpool in their hotly anticipated final against double-reigning champions Sevilla on the May 18 could rate higher than the premium competition.
The San Siro in Milan will host the Champions League final and Basel’s stadium will be the venue for Jurgen Klopp’s potential first trophy as a Liverpool manager.
BT announced in April that they were considering showing the games on their free-to-air but nothing had been confirmed until the announcement today by John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer. Petter commented: “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 buildup and on the night across YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vine.”
This will be the first time the finals will ever have been screened on YouTube.
BT raised eyebrows by agreeing a £900 million deal in 2013 to secure rights to show Europe’s biggest competition from the 2015/16 season. The deal stated that BT would pay UEFA £299m a season to show all 350 matches in the Champions and Europa League.
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