UEFA have concluded a media rights agreement with Channel Five, ITV 4 and Setanta Sports to broadcast live UEFA Cup matches in the United Kingdom from 2009 to 2012.
Effective from the 2009/10 campaign, the UEFA Cup will consist of a group phase featuring 48 teams, split into 12 groups of four, before the tournament enters into its traditional knockout rounds. Thursday nights will become the focus for UEFA Cup action throughout the majority of the competition, while matches will also be played on a Wednesday during sole UEFA Cup weeks.
Free-to-air commercial broadcaster Channel Five has secured the exclusive rights to the first choice live match in each match week – including the UEFA Cup Final – as well as a comprehensive highlights programme. Additional live matches will also be broadcast by ITV 4 and Setanta, while each channel also has the right to show highlights.
Web and mobile
Each broadcaster will also exploit the rights across all platforms – on the internet via www.five.tv, www.itv.com and www.setanta.com as well as on mobile. By concluding the agreements with each of Channel Five, ITV 4 and Setanta, UEFA has ensured that fans of European club football in the UK will have unrivalled access to all 205 live UEFA Cup matches each season.
Demand in the UK for these media rights reflects the recent success of English and Scottish clubs on the European stage. Commenting on the award of these rights, UEFA said: "We are delighted to have concluded UEFA Cup agreements with broadcasters of the calibre of Channel Five, ITV and Setanta. The competition has a bright future and UEFA Cup audiences in the UK have much to look forward to."