Champions League coverage could return to terrestrial TV as rights bidding deadline looms

UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League could return to terrestrial television next season, following ITV's bid for coverage rights.

For six years now, the Champions League has only been available on subscription sports channels such as Sky and BT Sports.

However, ITV could bring coverage of Europe's elite competition back to Freeview from the 2021/22 season, according to the Daily Mail.

The broadcaster has submitted bids on several Champions League packages in time for Monday's 10.30am deadline.

UEFA have split up the broadcasting rights to it's most prestigious competition into more packages than ever before for the period between 2021 and 2024.

This, coupled with the sale of the final as a stand-alone event for the first time, will encourage coverage of the Champions League across multiple broadcasters.

BT Sport paid £1.18bn to secure exclusive Champions League rights in the UK in 2015, but their deal expires at the end of next season.

Sky Sports are also understood to have bid for multiple packages, but all of the television stalwarts will now face competition from streaming services.

Companies such as Amazon Prime are starting to foray into the business of sports broadcasting - posing a real threat to traditional tv viewership.

Amazon, however, are currently thought to be more focused on their Premier League coverage they secured for this season.

Sports streaming service DAZN are believed to be interested in expanding their portfolio and could also make a bid before Monday's deadline.

ITV are hoping to ride the wave of English sides' success in European competition in recent years and provide coverage for fans who may not be able to afford subscriptions.

One thing is for certain: ITV won't be vying for exclusive rights to the Champions League, but it may secure a certain number of games and perhaps the coverage of the final.

Once the deadline passes on Monday morning, the bids will be scrutinised and a decision on who will broadcast the Champions League is expected later that day.

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