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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

RTÉ and TV3 swap Champions League nights in major shake-up

TV3 will have exclusive rights to over 300 games from the 2018/19 season.

TV3 will be the home of Champions League football from next season.
TV3 will be the home of Champions League football from next season.
Image: Alexandr Gusev/PA Images

VIRGIN MEDIA AND TV3 have secured the rights to 327 exclusive matches across the Uefa Champions League and Europa League from next season, including the finals of both competitions.

The new deal will see the Ballymount-based broadcaster share the rights to 16 Tuesday night Champions League matches with RTÉ; with the latter having first choice of game broadcast.

The deal, which comes into effect in August this year, also includes exclusive rights to all Champions League final round qualifiers, the Super Cup and will be in place for three years.

From next season, the Champions League group stage format will change with 6pm and 8pm games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Speaking about the deal, Pat Kiely, managing director of TV3 said:

“The Champions League is the biggest and most prestigious club competition in the world and we are delighted to extend our partnership with Uefa for both the Champions League and the Europa League.

“This landmark deal confirms Virgin Media as Ireland’s leading connected entertainment business and is great news for TV3 viewers and Virgin Media Customers.

“Our award winning sports broadcasting team look forward to bringing the biggest clubs and the best players to our viewers and customers in new and exciting ways over the coming European football seasons.”

Reacting to the news, Ryle Nugent, RTÉ Group head of sport said:

“This is a truly positive result for RTÉ, the Irish audience and public service broadcasting.

“The sports rights market continues to evolve and RTÉ is now competing against major international companies both here and in the UK, both free and subscription, for the right to broadcast premium sports events in this country.

“To secure the Champions League first choice games on Tuesday nights for the next three seasons means that Irish audiences will continue to have free to air access to the world’s leading club competition.

“This success, in conjunction with the rights to broadcast our national team’s European and World Cup qualifiers for 2020 & 2022, guarantees top class football on RTÉ platforms for the seasons ahead.” 

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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