GENEVA ( Associated Press) – Streaming service Amazon will broadcast some live Champions League games in the UK for the first time when the competition expands in 2024.
Amazon said on Friday that it acquired the rights to top picks of Tuesday’s games each week – from the newly expanded league stage to the semi-finals – a total of 16 each season – for three years from 2024-27.
The deal to show Tuesday’s games on the Prime Video channel is similar to Amazon’s current Champions League rights in Germany and Italy during the 2023-24 season. Amazon also shows some English Premier League games each December.
“Amazon has ambitious plans in the global sports industry and we look forward to innovative ways to broadcast European club football to the UK market,” UEFA Marketing Director Guy-Laurent Epstein said in a statement published by the company.
The value of Amazon’s deal was not disclosed, although the total value of the UK rights is approximately £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion).
Most of the live rights, including the Europa League and Europa Conference League, are retained by BT Sport, which it said is paying £305 million ($368 million) per season. Free-to-air state broadcaster BBC gets a new Champions League highlights show on Wednesday.
UEFA has opted for a comprehensive strategy in its most valuable market for the next period, when the Champions League will have more teams, more games and more match weeks – and possibly the fifth Premier League team.
In 2024, the format of the Champions League changes to an eight-round league stage of 36 teams, replacing the traditional six-round groups featuring a total of 32 teams. The current group stage ends in December, while the new format will have games in January as well. Additional entries will go to the two countries that had the best record in European competitions last season.
The knockout phase will begin in February with a fresh playoff round and will be preceded by the 16th round to be held in March.
Changes made by UEFA in May have created a total slate of 189 games in each Champions League season, instead of the current 125 games.
The European Club Association predicted an overall revenue growth of around 40% per season across all UEFA club competitions this year, although this figure was based on an expected 10-round league stage.
However, the increase in rights reported in the UK is around 15%.
UEFA has also prioritized its French broadcast deal and L’Equipe reported that Canal+ has sealed those rights for around 480 million euros ($500 million) per season. The games may be sold in a sub-licensing deal with beIN Sports Group. Both broadcasters are screening Champions League games in the 2021-24 cycle.