BT Sport is welcome to the Champions League: Sky never wanted it in the first place.
Such, anyhow, is the (approximate) message of a blog post published today by the latter broadcaster, which, after alluding to the passing of the Champion’s League broadcasting baton to UK competitor BT Sport for £900 million, goes on to stress that it is the “intense rivalry of our domestic competitions that matters most to customers” (which Sky continues to monopolise) – and that viewing figures for the European club league increasingly reflect this.
“Over the last five seasons we have seen Champions League audiences fall 36%,” reads the post. “Last season, we saw our lowest ever average match audience and not a single European game appeared in our top 40 football matches. Overall, Champions League accounts for just 2.5% of Sky Sports viewing, while the Premier League is seven times bigger.”
Has BT, then, acquired itself a ludicrously expensive dud? Well, Gary Lineker (who will be announced as BT’s official Champions League host on Thursday) might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but ‘ludicrously expensive dud’ might be a bit harsh.
Is the tournament worth the money, however? And has it, as Sky is delighting in stating, lost some of its old lustre to UK audiences?
Obviously that depends on how well Premier League teams do in the coming years…
Anyone out there optimistic on that front?