The Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup are set to benefit from increased viewership thanks to the signing of multi-year partnerships with broadcasters BT Sport, ITV, RTÉ and S4C to broadcast EPCR tournaments in the UK and Ireland.
Building on its experience in full and innovative broadcasting of these elite competitions since 2015, BT Sport paid channel will continue to cover Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches for a new cycle, i.e. until the end of the season. British and Irish territories.
In addition, ITV, S4C (Great Britain) and RTÉ (Ireland) have signed contracts allowing them to broadcast the Champions Cup for free in order to improve fans’ access to the prestigious tournament that will enter its 28th season.
Under these new agreements, ITV and RTÉ will each broadcast one Champions League match each weekend, including the final, until the end of the 2023/2024 edition.
For the next two seasons, Welsh clubs will be closely followed by S4C, showcasing all matches of the Ospreys Champions Cup collection, as well as one Weekend Challenge Cup match that includes either Cardiff Rugby, Dragons RFC or Scarlets.
“Broadcast deals are a pillar of our strategy to bring our tournaments to a wider and more diverse audience, and we are excited to be working with our partners in the UK and Ireland for the new cycle,” said Dominic Mackay, Head of EPCR. .
“Following the success of the finals in Marseille last May, we are pleased to continue the collaboration with BT Sport, who was able to highlight our competitions thanks to the excellent coverage. I would like to welcome the signing of three free-to-air channels, ITV, RTÉ and S4C, which will undoubtedly fulfill our expectations in terms of audience growth. And creativity as we welcome South African clubs to the EPCR tournaments.
“BT Sport, ITV, RTÉ and S4C complement our portfolio of broadcast partners in the key regions of Great Britain and Ireland. With beIN SPORTS, France Télévisions in France, SuperSport in South Africa and FloSports in the USA, we look forward to bringing the best club rugby competitions to a number of Bigger fans than before.”
The announcement follows the renewal of the partnership with beIN SPORTS and France Télévisions to broadcast on French soil, and the confirmation that SuperSport will become the exclusive broadcaster of the tournaments in South Africa while DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs will join the Cup. Champions and Challenge Cup as of this season.
EPCR also announced the signing of a multi-season agreement with streaming platform FloSports, which will become the exclusive broadcaster for the two tournaments in the United States until the end of the 2024/2025 season.
As part of this historic deal, the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be combined with the TOP 14 and BKT United Rugby Championship, giving US viewers unprecedented access to all four competitions on one platform.
“This announcement means BT Sport remains the rugby standard for clubs in the UK and Ireland, with an unparalleled display of the Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and Premier League,” said Rachel Knight, director of sports rights at BT Sport.
Last month, BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery has completed its transaction to form a joint venture combining the assets of BT Sport and Eurosport UK. While the joint venture works to develop new sports offerings for the UK and Ireland, BT Sport and Eurosport UK will maintain their separate product offerings and customers will be able to continue to enjoy existing sports offerings in the same way.
ITV Sports Director Niall Sloan commented: “With this new agreement, rugby fans will be able to enjoy free live coverage of some of the best club rugby matches and see the biggest stars. The Champions Cup adds to the high-level rugby show (the English championship and international competitions) that ITV presents to its viewers.”
Declan MacBennett, Head of Sports, RTÉ Group, said: “The Champions Cup is a much-loved tournament for rugby fans in Ireland. We are pleased to become partners with EPCR in order to broadcast this prestigious competition in a clear way and to increase its visibility throughout the Republic of Ireland.”
Geirant Evans, Director of Content Strategy at S4C commented: “The Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup are two of the most important club rugby competitions and we are delighted to renew our broadcast partnership with EPCR. S4C viewers will be able to follow the journey of the four Welsh regions in both tournaments and look forward to seeing some high-quality matches “.
More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the 2023 Finals at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The new season will begin in early December and the exact dates, times and broadcasters for this week’s group stage matches will be revealed.
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