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Champions League bidding begins

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Champions League bidding begins
Initial bids have been entered by the BBC, ITV, Sky and Setanta for three seasons of broadcasting rights to Champions League football.

Reports say the final cost for rights could reach about £125m a year with bidding expected to end in the autumn.

Five may also be taking part but the front-runner appears to be the BBC. The corporation is reportedly determined after losing domestic international and FA Cup rights.

ITV and Sky currently air Champions League games and they are likely to be shared between a free-to-view and pay-TV broadcaster again.

The BBC may also have to pay more than its competitors because it cannot show adverts for the competition's sponsors.

A source told the Daily Telegraph: "It's clear that the BBC is going to go all out to get the rights. Our expectation is that they are going to bid substantially more than its rivals to overcome the sponsorship issue."

Some have questioned whether a large chunk of licence fee money should be spent on the rights.

ITV's chief operating officer John Cresswell said: "The question is, is it a good use of licence feepayers' money to build public value by taking a free-to-air property that's already on free-to-air to the BBC? I think that's an important question the BBC Trust will be looking at."

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, has also expressed concern.

"They should be thinking very carefully about whether it's good use of licence fee payers money to enter a bid for the rights to something which would almost certainly be broadcast on UK terrestrial television," he said.

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