There is good news being reported by The Telegraph this morning with the report that Champions Cup fixtures will be shown free-to-air next season.
BT Sport secured the rights to show the competition from next season until 2022 but there is flexibility from tournament organisers to allow free-to-air broadcasters to show games as part of that deal. Sky Sports who currently show games alongside BT Sport, will no longer show games after this season.
It is being reported that Irish broadcaster, TV3, and UK broadcaster Channel 4, will broadcast at least one match during each of the six pool stages and this may also include some of the knock-out stages.
Europe’s top club rugby competition has not been shown on terrestrial television since 2003 when BBC used to show games of the old Heineken Cup. Tournament organisers are keen to boost the profile of the competition which is why they want games to be shown on terrestrial television from next season onwards.
This will come as a boost to supporters who are increasingly coming under pressure financially to pay for various pay-per-view channels to watch rugby.
We have already seen the decision from the PRO14 not to award rights to the BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland and instead, sell rights to pay-per-view channels, Eir Sport and Premier Sports.
In addition to BT showing the majority of games next season in the Champions Cup, they also have secured the Aviva Premiership rights until 2021.