THE BLOG
13/11/2013 07:47 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

BT Sports Muscle in on Sky and Murdoch's Monopoly

A volunteers cleans a television camera prior to the Bundesliga match between Fortuna Duesseldorf and Hamburger SV at Esprit-Arena on November 23, 2012 in Duesseldorf, Germany

Much like BSkyB's shares on Monday, my heart sank when I heard the news that BT had won the exclusive rights to broadcast all 350 fixtures each season from 2015 for the Champions League and Europe League competitions.

Not because I am a staunch supporter of Sky's slick coverage or hold an allegiance to Rupert Murdoch's all conquering company, but because, like all the other Average Joe's out there, the deal is likely to mean I am left out of pocket.

The prospect of shelling out to subsidise two subscriptions is creeping closer for the majority now that the pinnacle of European football has been wrestled from Sky's clutches as part of a staggering £900million deal.

However, although BT have won the battle, the war will rage on. They have won the rights this time, but it is widely believed the sum they have willingly paid to put an end to proceedings after just one round of bidding will skew future auctions.

Many companies have taken on the mighty BSkyB and failed as quickly as they started. The same fate was predicted for BT, but with this bold move it's clear they mean business. Sky have to sit up and take notice. They may now have to find more midweek football coverage to satisfy their following, so the Football League will surely receive a bigger pay day when their rights are sold next time.

As a supporter of a lower league team, however, the Champions League group stages do not have a patch on our domestic competitions. UEFA have successfully diluted the competition to the point where half of the entrants have no chance of making it out of the group.

Granted, there may be a few shock results from the teams that usually drop into the Europa League, like Basel's victory at Stamford Bridge, but the big boys largely make it through unscathed. I'll watch the English teams in the group stage, don't get me wrong, but too often the games are a disappointment, as most games that aren't do or die tend to be. The competition doesn't get going until the knockout rounds, whereas in the Premier League every game is blood and thunder.

As for the Europa League - UEFA's rebranding has failed miserably. The UEFA Cup was never a ridiculed competition before, but huge amounts of travel and games against unknown opposition have resulted in a devaluation of the competition led by the big clubs, a fate similar to that of the FA Cup. A straight knockout competition would be worth the huge sum BT have stumped up, but it was necessary to get a foothold in the market.

Meanwhile, the consumer appears to have lost out. Even the armchair fans don't have a say these days, let alone the Average Joe on the terraces. But surprise, surprise, players, managers and clubs continue to laugh all the way to the bank. The fruits of their labour will help them get a tasty slice of the money ploughed into UEFA in the form of prize money awarded to the participating clubs. And if the clubs have more money, then that will be filtering down to the players' hands quicker than Ashley Young hits the deck.

Currently I'm a Virgin man, so BT is beamed in at no extra cost to the deal I'm on - but if BT declare they are cutting the chord to Europe's top competition, then I would reconsider jumping ship to the new kid on the block. Maybe. Sorry Mr. Branson - I don't owe you anything.

I will continue to pay through the roof to watch my idols or could I escape the two sharks in the ocean by turning to internet streaming for coverage? Unethical and illegal - yes (stay in school kids, don't do drugs), but a hell of a lot cheaper.

However, buying a brand new subscription for the Champions League may be one step too far in my book and not only because watching David James wear a camera attached to his head is not the kind of expert analysis I'm after.

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