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BT boss tells Manchester conference there will be more “eye-watering” rights bids


Marc Watson, the chief executive of BT, has told a conference in Manchester that he is prepared to invest more “eye-watering sums” in football rights deals.

The company has already spent £897m on the Champions League rights as well as £738m to show 38 live Premier League matches for the next 3 seasons.

He told delegates at the UnitedCity sports summit at Old Trafford that he was even prepared to meet with Fifa to talk about the World Cup. The World Cup is classed as a Category A event by Ofcom, meaning live coverage must be made available to free-to-air broadcasters, although in theory BT could share coverage or remove restrictions on its channel.

“We have been able to afford some pretty eye-watering sums because it drives a position in a big and lucrative market, and we are in a position to invest more,” he said.

“The losers always say the winners have overpaid but we know we wouldn’t have won it for less, and what we have got with the Champions League are some of the best matches on the planet and they are worth every penny.”

It appears that the rights deals are starting to pay off, with “a surge” in broadband subscribers.

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