ITV Buys Channel Television

Also nets soccer broadcasting rights

It’s been a big week of deals for British broadcaster ITV. It is to buy the Channel Islands’ commercial TV broadcaster, Channel Television, and has secured the rights to broadcast UEFA Europa League soccer games.

ITV’s takeover of Channel Television from the Yattendon Group would give ITV control over 12 of the U.K.’s 15 regional channel 3 franchises. Scottish TV and Grampian TV in Scotland, and UTV in Northern Ireland would be the only networks broadcasting on the U.K.’s third channel outside ITV’s control.

The Channel Television deal is subject to approval from Jersey’s competition authorities. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but The Guardian reports that it is rumored to be worth more than £10 million ($16 million).

ITV has also snatched lead broadcast rights for the Europa League soccer competition from rival Channel 5. ITV, the U.K.’s largest advertiser-funded broadcaster, will now be able to show first- and second-pick games from the Europa League competition until 2015. ESPN will hold the rights to the remainder of the games. 

ITV’s controller of sport, Niall Sloane, says the Europa League draws a large audience in the U.K.: “There is great demand from U.K. viewers to watch domestic teams performing on the European stage,” he said in a statement. “I’m delighted that ITV is extending its long and successful relationship with UEFA to broadcast the top pick games from throughout the competition.”

Digital Spy reports that coverage of the Europa League, a pan-European soccer tournament, was one of Channel 5's biggest ratings draws, often attracting more than 2 million viewers for the bigger games. 

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