The Champions League is the big ticket in club football – no matter who you support. It brings together the best of the best, a showcase of the ultimate in footballing talent lining up for the best clubs in world football.
And while getting tickets to the games – not to mention actually getting to the games themselves – can be difficult and prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, the live streaming options are better than ever – whether you’re watching from the comfort of your couch or on your device while on the go.
The 2019-20 Champions League on UK TV
Last year’s Champions League – particularly the knockout stages – reminded many of us why we love football. Finalists Liverpool and Tottenham both overcame seemingly impossible odds to launch stunning comebacks in the semi-finals after all and sundry had tipped a Barcelona versus Ajax matchup in Madrid. Given that both sides only made it out of the group stages due to goal difference, it highlights just how close the tournament can be.
In recent years BT Sport has tightened their grip on the Champions League, having secured the rights to screen all qualifying, group, knockout and all the finals exclusively. Their current three-year deal runs until 2021 and has become a core component of BT’s commercial strategy.
The deal marks the first time where free-to-air providers have been completely shut out, with ITV or the BBC no longer permitted to run highlights packages. BT Sport has however begun integrating free highlights onto their social media channels.
The company have also continued on their promise – made out of goodwill rather than by virtue of a contractual requirement – to show the Champions League final for free on YouTube. While BT is free to go back on this promise at any time, it not only gives plenty more great access to the biggest game of the year but it also provides an insight into BT’s excellent sports coverage.
BT Sport’s commentary team includes many of the best pundits, ex-players, coaches and journalists to give you a great insight into the game. Headed up by presenters Gary Lineker and Lynsey Hipgrave and including punditry from Rio Ferdinand, Owen Hargreaves, Michael Owen, Steve McManaman and Jermaine Jenas, your watching experience will be guided by the best voices in the business.
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Champions League TV Preview
Despite the Premier League’s status as the richest and most competitive major football league in Europe, the past decade has not been a good one for English clubs in the Champions League. Coming into last season, Spain’s dominance of the Champions League – seven of the past ten trophies had gone to either Madrid or Barcelona – resulted in many questioning the quality of the Premier League. After the all-England final in 2007-08 between Manchester United and Chelsea, the next ten seasons saw an English club lift the trophy just once – Chelsea’s unlikely defeat of home side Bayern Munich in 2011-12.
That was then, however. Liverpool – the most successful English club in Champions League history – had come off a final defeat to Real Madrid. Led by Jurgen Klopp, the Reds made the final again in 2018-19 – this time taking on fellow Premier League side Tottenham, who were playing in their first-ever Champions League final. Klopp finally broke his European final hoodoo – winning on his fourth attempt – and the trophy they call Big Ears was back in England (specifically the North) once more.
Alongside the two finalists, Man City’s recent dominance and Chelsea’s knack for finding their way through European competitions have the Champions League in good stead for the English next year. While it’s a long way until the final of this year’s edition is held on May 30th at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium – a happy hunting ground for the reigning champs – it’s safe to say that one or more of the English teams are likely to be there or thereabouts come the pointy end of the season.
Champions League Schedule (All times BST)
With the qualifying phase already having started in June, the preliminary stages of the Champions League are well underway. The Group Stage is set to kick off on the 17th and 18th of September, running all the way through until mid-December.
In February 2020 the knockout phase is set to begin, where the Round of 16 will take place. The knockouts continue all the way until the final on May 30 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
As any Champions League fan will know, you also quite literally need the luck of the draw to succeed in the Champions League. The all-important draws take place on August 29 – for the group stages – with the draw for the knockout rounds taking place on December 16th. The final draw which will determine the fixtures for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place on March 20th, 2020.
29th August 2019: Group Stage Draw
17-18th September 2019: Group Stage Matchday 1
1-2nd October 2019: Group Stage Matchday 2
22-23rd October 2019: Group Stage Matchday 3
5-6th November 2019: Group Stage Matchday 4
26-27th November 2019: Group Stage Matchday 5
10-11th December 2019: Group Stage Matchday 6
16th December 2019: Knockout (Round of 16) Stage Draw
26-27th November 2019: Group Stage Matchday 5
Watch or Stream the Champions League Live
Other than the final which has now made Saturday evenings it’s own, the major Champions League fixtures take place midweek – making your couch the perfect location to soak up all the action. While there currently is no Champions League free to air TV provider in the UK, BT Sport will be showing every match in HD, live and exclusive on your television or mobile device.
BT TV has three packages – Classic, Entertainment and Max 4K – and all come with BT Sport. Want to feel like you’re actually there? BT Sport’s Max 4K gets you access to live sport and so much more. BT also offers the option to stream the Champions League free to eligible mobile devices using their mobile app, ensuring you won’t have to miss a minute no matter your schedule.
While BT TV has an exclusive arrangement with UEFA, BT Sport is offered by other providers. Sky’s Entertainment + BT Sport allows you to take the game with you in your pocket with the Sky Go streaming app, for free. NOW TV announced in 2019 that they’ll expand their packages to include BT Sport starting with the 2019-20 season, but as yet the plans haven’t been made public.