Celtic in line for Champions League windfall

The Scottish champions are set for a massive financial boost after BT Sport's three-year deal to broadcast live elite European games in the UK
Celtic have been handed a massive boost with their share of TV money for participating in the Champions League potentailly doubling from 2015 onwards.

According to figures from Uefa, a total pot of £69.4 million (€83.1m) was divided up between British clubs after the 2012-13 tournament, with a pre-determined 10 per cent share (£6.94m/€8.31m) being awarded to Celtic as the sole Scottish participants. The rest is split between the four English clubs.

TV revenue made up nearly a third of the £22m (€26.3m) total funds that the Bhoys received from Uefa for their involvement in the competition.

However, the newly negotiated UK TV rights deal for European football will see BT Sport pay £299m (€358m) each season to broadcast Champions League and Europa League coverage for three years from the 2015-16 campaign.

The deal will more than double the annual figure currently paid by Sky and ITV to British participants in continental competition and the UK market pool will more than double to an estimated £150m (€180m) annually or higher.

If the current 10 per cent share arrangement continues into the new deal - and that has yet to be confirmed by BT or Uefa - Celtic stand to earn around £15m-per-season from TV money alone, a rise of over 50%.

Although the financial rewards will only be available to Celtic should they continue to win the Scottish Premiership and successfully negotiate their way through qualifying rounds to the Champions League group stages.

Such a significant rise in reward for playing in European football is particularly important for Celtic, who operate in a less lucrative domestic TV market than most of the other teams in the latter stages of the competition.

The new BT Sport contract will also increase the incentive for the Scottish Premiership's other clubs to reach the group stages of the Europa League, something which Hibernian, Motherwell and St Johnstone failed to achieve this year. Previously, Europa League TV income was small.

Celtic's fierce rivals, Rangers, will also hope to be in the running for the increased rewards. Should they win promotion this year and next, they will return to the Scottish Premiership for the 2015-16 season and could make Europe through their league placing as early as 2016-17 - the second year of the new three-year BT Sport arrangement.