BT Sport has defended its move to take European football exclusively onto a pay-television platform by saying its plan to share in-game clips, highlights, and the two finals online will deliver the mass audiences UEFA desires, while creating value for its shareholders.
The communications giant's £1.2b package for Champions League and Europa League games until the end of the 2020-21 season means there will be no European club football - even highlights, as is the situation now - on traditional, free-to-air outlets.
At nearly £400m per season, the deal is a 32 per cent increase on the almost £300m BT currently pays for exclusive rights, with ITV showing highlights.
With the obligation to have a free-to-air partner lifted, BT bosses gave the green light for the increased bid.
The new deal gives BT Sport complete exclusivity over UEFA's new double-header kick-off times of 6pm and 8pm in the Champions League.
"It is a huge deal but it's very exciting for us and we think we are well positioned to create value with our digital offering and the double headers,” BT's strategy director Andy Haworth said.
"We think the two kick-off slots will increase our advertising revenues by 30 per cent and by pushing more footage out on social media and YouTube we will be going where the viewers are in increasing numbers.”