ITV will make a 'serious' bid to bring the Champions League back to free-to-air TV in 2021

The Champions League is undoubtedly the biggest club football competition in the world. 

Given its appeal, UEFA can sell television rights for an awful lot of money – especially in the United Kingdom. 

In 2017, BT paid £1.18 billion to extend its exclusive coverage until 2021, which began two years prior. 

But before they came onto the scene, Sky and ITV shared rights to the Champions League.

Neither of those broadcasters came anywhere close to matching BT’s huge bid during the last auction, but according to a report from The Times, the next one will be different. 

The paper suggests that ITV will mount a ‘serious challenge’ to bring Europe’s elite competition back to free-to-air television from the 2021-22 season.

That’s good news for football fans in the UK – and for UEFA as well. 

With no Champions League football available on terrestrial television, the tournament has lacked exposure in recent years. 

It’s believed that UEFA will be more open to offers, especially from ITV, given that issue. 

Ahead of the next auction, the governing body have sent broadcasters a document that details the packages on offer.

The rights will be split up into multiple packages and there is even one that will allow broadcasters to bid for the Champions League final alone. 

It’s very unlikely that ITV will be able to afford exclusive coverage, but there is a suggestion that things will return to how they were before 2015 when they held joint rights with Sky. 

Whether BT Sport will allow that to happen though, is another issue altogether. 

The Champions League is the broadcasters biggest pull, given that Sky hold most of the rights to the Premier League

Could we soon see the rights shared by all three broadcasters? Well, it’s certainly not out of the question.

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