BT to usher in Netflix-style 'binge' watching with major $1.45 billion soccer deal

BT Sport retains European football rights until 2021

U.K. telecoms and broadband giant BT has retained exclusive rights to broadcast top European soccer matches in the country with a new £1.2 billion ($1.45 billion) deal.

This means that BT will own the rights of the games for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League soccer championships until the end of the 2020/21 season. For the first time, the deal includes exclusivity across all live games, highlights and in-match clips of both competitions.

"There are two games playing back-to-back so for the customer that gives him the opportunity for binge viewing," John Petter, consumer CEO at BT, told CNBC. His comments refer to a new schedule whereby the broadcaster will screen Champions League "double header" nights - with matches kicking off at both 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. London time.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts as he fail to score during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Betis Balompie at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 29, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
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He added that this would also mean more advertising slots for BT. Petter admitted that BT had to raise its original bid by 28 percent to win the deal.

"Yes, it was intense but the important thing is that BT stayed financially disciplined," he explained.

TV vs. online: The future of consumption

BT also intends to take advantage of social media, where "audiences have really taken off," he added.

BT streamed both finals last season on YouTube for the first time, increasing the number of people who watched its live coverage to more than 12 million.

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