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BT pledge to show selection of matches for free

BT has confirmed that it will show a selection of Champions League and Europa League games including the final for free, even to homes that have not signed up to the channels.

The telecoms company confirmed that they will pay around £299 million a season for the exclusive live rights to all 350 matches from both the Champions League and the Europa League.

BT Sport will be the new UK home of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League football Credit: PA Wire

"BT has shaken up the UK TV market with BT Sport and it today pledged to make its new matches far more accessible and affordable for fans who wish to enjoy all the action,"the company said in a statement.

"It also announced it will show a selection of these new matches for free on BT Sport, even to homes that have not signed up to the channels."

"The finals of each tournament will be showcased in this fashion along with a selection of top matches from earlier rounds. Fans will also be delighted to know that each participating British team will feature for free at least once each season."

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BT 'close to deal for exclusive Champions League rights'

BT Sport are reportedly on the brink of landing exclusive UK rights to Champions League football after outbidding BSkyB and ITV with a near £1 billion bid.

The telecoms company has outbid both BSkyB and ITV, the current holders of the rights, and are set to finalise the deal to show exclusive coverage of both the Champions League and the Europa League for three years from 2015 after talks with Uefa, according to The Times.

The Champions League is regarded as the biggest club competition in world football. Credit: PA Wire

If finalised, the contract would signal the end of Champions League football on free-to-air television for the first time in Britain.

The deal is worth almost double what ITV and Sky signed for the current contract with little competition in 2011.

The move is the latest large scale investment from BT into live football coverage after it paid £738 million to show 38 Premier League games a season for three years.

New ratings battle kicks off as Premier League returns

Robin van Persie and Manchester United will bid to retain the title in David Moyes' first season at Old Trafford. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

A challenge to the old order is expected as the new Premier League season kicks off - but off the pitch, with BT Sport taking on Sky for first day ratings.

The new contender paid £738 million for the rights to show 38 top-flight games a season for the next three years and has landed the first game of the 2013/14 season: the 12:45 kick off between Liverpool and Stoke City.

Sky has responded with a day of free football, with shows that normally go out on Sky Sports 1 being shown instead on Sky2 and Pick TV for free, including the later game between Swansea City and Manchester United.

BT hopes to break Sky's grip on armchair sports fans by enabling its broadband customers to watch the Premier League action for free.

It announced this week it had tripled its number of viewers to three million by signing a deal with Virgin Media.

New BT Sport channels go live at 6pm this evening

BT Sport presenters Jake Humphrey and Clare Balding pictured at a launch event Credit: PA Wire

Telecoms giant BT will launch its new sports channels this evening, aimed at breaking Sky's dominance in sports pay-per-view television.

The company has offered its broadband customers the chance to watch 38 Premier League football matches for free.

BT Sport's launch football match will be Manchester City v Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup Final at 7pm.

Half a million people sign up for BT Sport channels

BT has revealed that more than half a million people have signed up to its new sports channels ahead of its launch next month.

The group added over 95,000 retail broadband customers during the end of June - a 12 per cent rise on a year earlier.

BT Sport presenters Jake Humphrey and Clare Balding pcitured at the channel's launch/ Credit: PA Wire

The telecoms giant, who are aiming to break Sky's grip on sports pay TV, are offering broadband customers the chance to watch Premier League football for free.

The company expects further growth to TV and broadband customers once it launches the channels.

Read: BT Sport offers channels free to broadband customers

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BBC and BT Sport win FA Cup rights from 2014

Wigan Athletic won last season's FA Cup after beating Manchester City. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The BBC and BT Sport have won the rights to broadcast FA Cup matches from the start of the 2014-15 season through to 2018.

ITV, who held the cup rights since 2008, will continue to show all of England's home and away matches in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Ofcom to investigate BSkyB after BT Sport complaint

The battle for armchair sports fans escalated after the telecoms regulator Ofcom launched an investigation into BSkyB's alleged refusal to share its Sky Sports channels with BT on "fair terms".

Ofcom said it has opened an investigation into Sky's "alleged abuse of a dominant position" regarding the wholesale supply of Sky Sports 1 and 2 - its flagship sports channels.

BT has complained that BSkyB is taking advantage of its market dominance. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

BT wants to offer Sky Sports via YouView set-top boxes to complement its own newly-launched sport offer.

But BT said Sky will not allow the channels to be broadcast over BT boxes unless it offers its rival wholesale access to its own BT Sport channels in return.

Rio Ferdinand has been signed by BT Sport as an "interviewer, programme-maker and football expert" Credit: PA

Ofcom said it will "consider whether Sky has abused a dominant position under UK and/or EU competition law".

The regulator added it will decide by next month whether to grant "interim relief" - which could temporarily give BT access to Sky Sports.

BT denies 9% line rental hike linked to sports rights

BT Sport presenters Jake Humphrey and Clare Balding at the channel's launch last month. Credit: PA

Telecoms giant BT has hit customers with a 9% hike in the cost of its line rental saver scheme just weeks after promising free live Premier League action to its broadband customers.

The group has increased its Line Rental Saver Plan, which allows customers a better deal by paying a year advance, from £129 to £141 from June 1.

BT denied the move was linked to its push into sports broadcasting, which is seeing the firm muscle in on Sky's dominance of sport after winning a three-year deal to show 38 Premier League games a season.

The group said: "Line Rental Saver continues to offer a generous discount of 23% on the price of our standard line rental, saving customers £44 a year."

"This increase, which is the first for 14 months, does not affect existing Line Rental Saver customers. Customers who take standard line rental from BT will benefit from our price freeze until 2014" it added.

BT aiming to 'massively undercut' Sky on sport in pubs

BT Sport plans to tempt pubs from Sky with a sports package which it claims could be 78% cheaper than its rival.

BT is offering pubs and clubs 12 months' subscription for the price of nine, which BT said for many independent pubs works out at £135 per month.

Hotels, golf clubs and betting shops will also be offered sport packages which BT said "massively undercut" its rival.

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