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BT outbids Sky for European soccer games

  • BT Group (BT) has won the U.K. rights to screen matches from the European Champions League and the Europa League soccer tournaments after pipping BSkyB (BSYBF) - in which Fox (FOX, FOXA) owns a 39% stake - and fellow British broadcaster ITV (ITVPF) with a bid of £897M ($1.44B).
  • The victory is the latest coup for BT, which last year broke Sky's stranglehold on English Premier League (EPL) matches by agreeing to pay £738M for exclusive rights to screen 38 games a season over the next three years.
  • However, the price paid for the European deal has sparked concerns that BT is overpaying and about how the company will foot the the bill for its growing sports portfolio. Still, the EPL rights have already attracted new broadband customers, who can watch the games for free.
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