BT Sport has agreed a four-year deal with European Professional Club Rugby (ECPR) to secure the rights for all matches from European club rugby union’s elite competitions.
Starting from the 2018/19 season, the pay-TV broadcaster will provide coverage in the UK and Ireland of the top-tier European Rugby Champions Cup and the second-tier European Rugby Challenge Cup. The network will show up 134 live games from the two tournaments.
Since 2014, BT Sport has shown at least 37 matches from both competitions in a joint agreement with Sky Sports, but has now acquired the exclusive rights to add to its broadcast deal for Aviva Premiership Rugby, which is English rugby union’s top flight.
Andy Haworth, BT’s managing director of content and strategy, said: “BT Sport is now the home of elite European rugby, as well as the home of Aviva Premiership Rugby. We’re proud to have won all of the live rights for this fantastic competition. We’re extremely passionate about our rugby coverage and will continue to work hard to grow the profile of the sport.”
Vincent Gaillard, chief executive of EPCR, added: “We are delighted to move to a single pay-TV platform for European club rugby with a premium broadcaster in BT Sport, who share our commitment to the promotion of our competitions.
“We look forward to further developing that relationship to continually create outstanding rugby experiences for fans across the United Kingdom and Ireland.”
English rugby union side Saracens were crowned champions of the 2016/17 European Rugby Champions Cup – securing the title for a second consecutive season - after defeating French outfit Clermont Auvergne 28-17 in the final.