LEINSTER AND MUNSTER fans will be able to watch their side in Champions Cup action on TV3′s free-to-air offering at least once during the pool stages, as the broadcaster announced its fixtures for the 2018/19 season.
TV3, who last year acquired the rights for the Six Nations championship from RTÉ, has further strengthened its position in the rugby rights market by agreeing a four-year deal with the EPCR to broadcast nine live games per season.
The Ballymount broadcaster will carry live coverage of European rugby on free-to-air Irish television for the first time since 2006, with the Pool 1 clash between Bath and Toulouse on Saturday 13 October their first fixture.
The TV3 cameras will be at Thomond Park a week later for the round two meeting of Munster and Gloucester, while holders Leinster will feature on the channel when they host Toulouse at the RDS on 12 January.
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.
“We are very happy to be bringing live coverage of European club rugby back to Irish free-to-air audiences at such an exciting time both for Irish rugby and for our business,” Kieran Holden, TV3 Group Head of Sport, said.
The rights for European rugby’s premier club competition were previously shared between Sky Sports and BT Sport, but the latter have acquired the sole pay-per-view broadcast rights in the UK and Ireland through to 2022.
TV3′s Champions Cup fixtures:
- 13 October: Bath v Toulouse
- 20 October: Munster v Gloucester
- 8 December: Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester
- 15 December: Cardiff Blues v Saracens
- 12 January: Leinster v Toulouse
- 19 January: TBC – Munster v Exeter Chiefs/Castres v Gloucester/Saracens v Glasgow Warriors
- 30 March: Quarter-final
- 20 April: Semi-final
- 11 May: Final
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