TV3 have added to their sports coverage repertoire. James Crombie/INPHO
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Champions Cup rugby to be shown free-to-air in Ireland for the first time since 2006

TV3 has secured a four-year agreement with EPCR to broadcast nine games per season.

CHAMPIONS CUP RUGBY will be shown on free-to-air television in Ireland for the first time since 2006 after TV3 further strengthened its position in the rugby rights market.

The Irish broadcaster, who this year acquired the rights for the Six Nations championship from RTÉ, has secured a four-year agreement with the EPCR to broadcast nine live Champions Cup games per season.

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 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.

With the EPCR set to announce a further free-to-air offering in the United Kingdom, believed to be to Channel 4, competition organisers are increasing its reach in a bid to attract new fans.

The rights for European rugby’s premier club competition are currently shared between Sky Sports and BT Sport, but the latter have already been confirmed as the sole pay-per-view broadcast partner in the UK and Ireland until the end of the 2021/22 season.

EPCR Marketing and Commercial Director, Carsten Couchouron, said:

“It’s a key EPCR objective to take the outstanding rugby experiences of European professional club rugby into the homes of even more fans and we are delighted to be increasing our coverage with TV3 in Ireland. TV3 have extensive experience of delivering quality rugby broadcasting and we are certain they will bring both knowledge and passion to the Champions Cup.”

“We are delighted to be bringing Champions Cup rugby to TV3,” the station’s managing director Pat Kiely added.

“This deal reflects the great momentum we now have and, as part of Virgin Media, we continue to deliver more great content and live events for our viewers and customers. We are clearly in a golden era for Irish rugby and Irish audiences can now look forward to even more action from club and country on TV3.”

The Champions Cup returns in a fortnight with Munster hosting Toulon in their quarter-final clash at Thomond Park before Leinster face defending champions Saracens at the Aviva Stadium on Easter Sunday.

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