ITV Set To Bid To Bring Champions League Back To Free-To-Air TV
The Champions League could be making a sensational return to terrestrial television.
ITV is set to bid to bring the Champions League back to free-to-air TV when UEFA holds its auction of British broadcast rights, according to The Times.
UEFA sent the tenders for the 2021-24 rights to interested UK broadcasters this week, and it's believed ITV - as well as Sky - will mount a serious challenge to BT Sport, who hold the exclusive rights at the moment.
ITV set to bid for Champions League TV rights after new tender for UK issued. Big challenge for BT with Sky also looking interested https://t.co/AEO7RD8hWu- Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) October 9, 2019
Both ITV and Sky shared the TV rights to the Champions League until 2015 when BT Sport entered the market with a humongous bid.
In 2017, BT Sport extended their deal to exclusively air the Champions League until 2021 in a deal worth a believed £1.8 billion.
With the lack of Champions League football being aired on terrestrial TV, the European competition has lacked exposure and low viewing figures in the UK with UEFA open to offers.
ITV's proposal will likely be similar to their last coverage. Airing one or two midweek games with pay TV showing the other matches.
The start time of the early Champions League games will also reportedly be changed, with kick-off at 5:45pm (GMT) instead of 5:55pm (GMT).
The final is still free-to-air as it is a listed event under Government rules.
TV rights for the Europa League and the newly-formed Europa Conference League will come as one package.
The deadline for submission of bids is November 11, 2019.