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ITV Chief Says Lost Champions League Won’t Affect Advertising

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- ITV Plc said that losing broadcast rights for two of Europe’s soccer leagues to BT Group Plc won’t hurt advertising and the 299 million-pound ($483 million) price per season was too high.

“We’re very clear-eyed about what sport does for us and over the years we have a very sophisticated model to decide the value,” Chief Executive Officer Adam Crozier said today at an investor conference in Barcelona. “We got to the level where it didn’t make financial sense.”

The owner of the U.K.’s biggest commercial TV station will reinvest in other “high-quality content,” Crozier said. The UEFA Champions League and Europa League games that BT won this month typically represent less than 1 percent of viewing. Other programs can achieve that at a fraction of the cost, he said.

“I’m confident that we can replace it,” Crozier said at the event organized by Morgan Stanley. “I don’t think it will affect our advertising performance.”

BT Sports will replace British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc’s Sky Sports and London-based ITV in broadcasting the 350 matches. The rights run for three seasons from 2015. This is the first time a U.K. broadcaster has won exclusive rights to all matches for both tournaments, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in Barcelona via athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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