Next season's Champions League could be the best yet for pubs with more viewing occasions available than in seasons gone by, according to BT Sport.

In the group stage and round of 16, fixtures will be scheduled consecutively at 5.55pm and 8pm, giving pubs a longer window to attract and keep football fans in the pub.

At a briefing yesterday, Bruce Cuthbert, BT Sport director commercial customers, said research has revealed that 80 per cent of BT Sport customers believe that being able to show back-to-back Champions League games will make them more money.

He added that the change in scheduling will provide "32 additional viewing occasions".

The 2018/19 season also sees BT Sport add five additional FA Cup matches to its output and become the home of domestic rugby union with all live Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Cup rugby to be shown on BT Sport.

BT also revealed details of new support packages for customers next season which includes a partnership with digital giant Google to help licensees improve their digital offering.

 

 

A total of 800 customers will be given the chance to attend a Google Digital Garage where they will receive bespoke digital training.

Bruce Cuthbert, director commercial customers, BT Sport, said: "We're excited to be working with Google to create a series of free personalised digital training sessions across the UK, focusing on how to make your business visible online, which is increasingly important in a world where consumers are always connected and expect to be able to search, find and plan their days whenever and wherever they are."

A BT Sport survey of 2,000 pub goers revealed that 45 per cent of live sport watchers 'follow' a pub or bar's social media page. Meanwhile, 58 per cent of BT Sport pubs have indicated they would use social media more to promote sports events if they knew how to make the most of it.

The broadcaster will also provide a greater variety of point of sale material across a wider range of sports.

BT Sport also announced changes to pricing from next year which includes a 4.9 per cent pay increase. They will also be switching to a pricing system based on 2017 rateable values (RV) as opposed to the 2010 RVs it has been basing prices on up to now. The 4.9 per cent increase is capped for existing customers.

Cuthbert added: "If you're an existing customer and your rateable value has gone up considerably you will only be paying 4.9 per cent more for your package than last year."

 

Some operators, whose rateable value has gone down, may even get a price reduction, though others will still see a rise.

 

The pricing changes come from September 1.