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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

eir Sport announces decision to remove sports channels from Virgin Media

Virgin Media said they are ‘very disappointed with eir’s decision.’

A general view of a Virgin Media branding.
A general view of a Virgin Media branding.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

EIR SPORT HAVE tonight announced that they have removed their sports channels from Virgin Media’s platforms following a public dispute between the broadcasters in recent weeks. 

On 13 August, Virgin Media announced they were suspending their supply of sports channels to eir Sport due to a failure to ‘to pay the contracted distribution licence fee.’

Later that evening, eir released a statement stating they ‘offered fair terms’ which reflected ‘the reduced timetable’ in sport this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

eir Sport have tonight released a statement confirming their decision to remove their sports channels from Virgin Media.

The statement in full reads: 

“eir Sport has today taken the difficult decision to remove its sport content from Virgin Media’s platforms, two weeks after Virgin Media suddenly and unilaterally withdrew the Virgin Media Sports feed from eir and its customers.

“While eir was entitled to immediately suspend the eir sport 1 feed due to Virgin Media’s fundamental contract breaches, we are deeply aware of the importance of live sport to viewers, in particular at these difficult times.

“We therefore gave Virgin Media seven days’ notice, in the hope that they would make reasonable efforts to engage and prevent customers being deprived of live sport, including the PRO14 games last weekend. eir Sport can only pay for sports events that actually take place and we have consistently offered fair terms to Virgin Media.

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“Renegotiation on rights fees have been commonplace over the past few months globally as broadcasters and content owners come to fair and reasonable resolutions around the absence of live sport and the curtailed seasons now in place, however Virgin Media has refused to engage on a constructive solution.”

In a statement released to The42 in response, Virgin Media said:

“Virgin Media are very disappointed with eir’s decision. The sporting schedule continues across Virgin Media channels including the Heineken Champions Cup, The Six Nations, the UEFA Nations League as well as the return of next seasons [sic] Champions League and Europa League coverage.”

Last August it was announced that Virgin Media and eir Sport were joining forces as they had agreed a deal to carry their sports channels on each other’s TV platforms.

Now it appears that relationship is over.

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Kevin O'Brien

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