Irish broadcaster Eir Sport has reportedly acquired rights to the recently rebranded Guinness Pro14 rugby union league from the start of the 2018/19 season.
According to Irish outlet The42, Eir has outbid Sky Sports to secure the rights to the competition, which last year added two South African teams to its roster of leading Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian club sides. If confirmed, the deal would mark the first time that the broadcaster has shown live Pro14 games.
The agreement is part of Eir’s strategy to become a market leader for rugby union coverage, and would follow the company’s move to win the Irish broadcasting rights for next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Sky first took on Ireland’s rights for the Pro14 in 2014/15 and has shown each edition of the competition since, with Eir currently restricted to match highlights. Eir provided live coverage of the Ireland national team’s summer tour of the US and Japan last year, as well as the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
South Africa’s Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings are both competing in the Pro14 for the first time this year, along with sides from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Italy.