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Leila Abboud

Playing Soccer With Billionaires Isn't Cheap

BT seems much happier to spend big on football than on British fiber networks.

Playing soccer with billionaires doesn't come cheap. BT Group Plc had to stump up 30 percent more to keep the broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League from 2018 to 2021. Bidding against Rupert Murdoch's Sky Plc pushed the price up to 1.2 billion pounds ($1.5 billion).

It's an inexorable law by now: the cost of flagship sports rights, whether for the NFL or the English Premier League, only goes up. The gravity-defying force remains despite evidence that viewer enthusiasm for live TV sport is fading.