Jul 12, 2018

BT loses UK rights to screen Italian football

BT has lost the rights to broadcast Italian Serie A football matches in the UK to ambitious rival Eleven Sports, representing a further blow to its sports strategy. Eleven Sports, owned by Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani, who also controls Leeds United football club, acquired the rights to broadcast Spanish La Liga matches in the UK from Sky in May. Eleven has launched a digital subscription service in some European countries but it is unclear how it intends to show the matches in the UK. People with direct knowledge of the situation said Eleven had signed a deal with IMG, the international sports rights company, which owns the broadcasting rights to Serie A matches. The combination of the two sets of rights will position Eleven to launch an over-the-top service, or potentially a sports channel, in the UK. BT Sports has held the exclusive broadcast rights to Serie A games since the channels were launched in 2013 when it took the fight to Sky. Prices came down dramatically during the Premier League rights auction in February as BT's hunger for the best rights eased. BT retained exclusive rights to pan-European club matches in an auction earlier this year and still has the rights to German and Scottish football matches as well as rugby and cricket matches.

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