How football on TV will change with the new Champions League format

UEFA’s decision to revise the format of the Champions League from the start of the 2024/25 season inevitably sparked plenty of debate across football.

The move is expected to end the threat of a breakaway European Super League and represents a significant change in format for the continent’s top club competition.

The number of teams competing will increase from 32 to 36, while the group stage will be replaced by a revamped league phase.

Also known as the ‘Swiss Model’, this will guarantee that each team plays eight matches in the opening phase, with the top eight qualifying automatically for the knockout stage.

The 16 teams finishing ninth to 24th will compete in a two-legged play-off round to determine who joins the top eight sides in the last 16.

The revised format will have a sizeable impact on live football on TV, with 64 more games set to added to the 125 played in the current format.

BT Sport remains the primary broadcaster of the Champions League in the United Kingdom having secured a new rights deal until the end of the 2026/27 season.

For fans located in other jurisdictions, BT’s coverage can be accessed using reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) software across various digital devices.

BT will also broadcast the Europa League and Europa Conference League, making them a one-stop shop for UEFA’s club competitions.

One of the most significant changes to the television coverage of the Champions League will be the addition of programming on the BBC and Amazon from 2024 onwards.

Highlights will be shown from on the Wednesday of match weeks on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

Clips for other online platforms and social media will be made available by the BBC, further expanding the level of coverage currently available to fans.

However, it is Amazon’s move to expand their sports portfolio by securing the rights to air 17 matches on Tuesday nights which is the most noteworthy change to the TV coverage.

While BT’s slice of the pie is greater in terms of the number of matches they will broadcast, Amazon have secured first pick for all their games.

This will likely mean they will target matches featuring English teams, thus making their mini-package of coverage far more lucrative.

When coupled with the free-to-air highlights on the BBC, this becomes a viable alternative to the more expensive subscriptions on BT.

Despite losing their exclusivity as a Champions League broadcaster, BT’s recent £633 million link-up with US media giants Warner Bros Discovery keeps them in strong position to exploit other markets.

The deal includes plans to create a joint venture subscription-based business combining BT Sport and Eurosport, thus enhancing their overall sports portfolio.

BT has confirmed it will still broadcast the Champions League final for free, although it is unclear if the match will be aired on YouTube as previously.

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