BT sets it eyes on soccer rights auctions in the future

Fresh off securing the rights to the European Champions League and Europa soccer tournaments, BT's (BT -1%) CEO Gavin Patterson said the company will be in strong financial shape when the next round of bidding for rights comes in 2015. He observed, "Because we've got this strong base in European football, on an exclusive basis it gives us that little bit more flexibility."

BT's resurgence and expansion into sports programming is troubling for BSkyB (BSYBF), which has long held the dominant position in soccer programming in the U.K. CEO Jeremy Darroch downplayed the effect, observing that Champions League programming accounted for less than 3% of viewing on Sky Sports. "We have factual programmes that will do those kinds of audiences at a fraction of the cost ... We would have liked to have it, but not at any price."

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