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Heineken returns as Champions Cup title sponsor from next season

EPCR has secured a four-year title sponsorship deal with the Dutch brewing company.

EUROPE’S PREMIER CLUB rugby competition will again be sponsored by Heineken from next season, after the EPCR this morning announced a new four-year title rights deal with the brewing company.

Isa Nacewa and Jordi Murphy lift the European Rugby Champions Cup trophy Leinster are the holders after their win over Racing 92 last month. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The sponsorship deal will see the tournament renamed as the Heineken Champions Cup from the 2018/19 campaign, and ensures Heineken’s continued support of European professional rugby having been involved for the last two decades.

The Heineken Cup had run since 1995 but was replaced by the Champions Cup four years ago, following changes to the structure and governance of the competition, although Heineken remained as a founding partner of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments.

That deal expired at the end of this season and on the back of another year of impressive growth which saw attendance records soar to more than one million fans, Heineken has returned as European Rugby’s title sponsor.

“We have substantially developed the Champions Cup over the past four seasons and it is fitting that at such an exciting time for the tournament, we welcome back a world-leading brand in Heineken,” EPCR Chief Executive, Vincent Gaillard, said.

“They are steeped in rugby history and inextricably linked with the heritage of European club rugby and we are delighted to be embarking on this journey with their full support.”

The pool draw for the newly-titled tournament will take place in Lausanne on 20 June, when the road to the 2019 finals in Newcastle will be mapped out.

The 2018/19 season will also see the Champions Cup’s global reach enhanced after a rights-holding broadcaster agreement with NBC Sports in America, as well as new deals which will see selected games shown live on free-to-air TV in both the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Channel 4 acquired those rights in the UK, while TV3 has secured a four-year agreement with the EPCR to broadcast nine live Champions Cup games per season in Ireland.

As part of the deal, TV3 will carry live coverage of one Champions Cup match per week of the group stages from the beginning of next season until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

The agreement also includes live coverage of one quarter-final, one semi-final and the Champions Cup final in each of the next four seasons, as well as a weekly highlights show featuring the Irish provinces.

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