NYON: UEFA aims to generate a record-breaking €3.2bn in broadcast and marketing revenue from the 2018-21 rights sale just launched for the Champions League.

Guy-Laurent Epstein, marketing director at UEFA Events, told the Bloomberg news agency that the governing body is seeking a 28pc increase on the value of rights for the current window, which expires at the end of the 2017-18 season.

The new sales process offers three-season packages of broadcast and sponsorship rights for the Champions League and second-tier Europa League across the 2018-19 to 2020-21 campaigns.

The launch of the tender process was preceded by Friday’s Uefa Executive Committee meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, which focused on the 2018-21 club competition cycle.

Among the announcements came the news that Champions League games will either kick off at 7pm or 9pm CET during the group stage, opening up new windows for broadcasters outside the traditional 8.45pm scheduling.

Two matches will start at the earlier time, with six matches scheduled for the later slot.

Reform measures unveiled by UEFA in August for the Champions League and Europa League will see the continent’s top four leagues granted automatic qualification for four teams each to its elite competition.

Under the changes, the top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the Champions League.

The automatic qualification would benefit the top four leagues in the coefficient ranking, currently the Spanish LaLiga, German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Italian Serie A.

Epstein said: “The fact you have four teams from the top four markets is, commercially, a very positive sign. It’s a very ambitious (revenue) target, but the product is so good that we are very confident.”