As with virtually everything in recent years, it's all change with the Champions League TV rights in Ireland. With games now staggered across separate kick-off times on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, viewers now have the chance to
watch be charged more than ever.
TV3 recently snaffled the majority of the Irish rights to the competition and will show a game on Tuesdays along with both games on a Wednesday.
The Champions League has long since disappeared behind BT Sport's paywall in the UK, but it has, up to now, been free to air in Ireland across RTE and TV3.
That's going to change from September.
As part of TV3's rebrand to Virgin Media TV, they are launching a sports-specific channel entitled Virgin Media Sports, which will show games from the Champions League and the Europa League.
That channel will be free for Virgin Media TV customers, but non-Virgin Media customers will have to pay up to €20 for access to the channel.
Following a report in The Irish Times, the broadcaster confirmed to us that the Champions League games will remain free to air on a Tuesday: kicking off at 6pm on Virgin Media 1 (the artist formerly known as TV3) and at 8pm on RTE. This is the same number as is currently on free to air in Ireland.
On Wednesday, however, the games will be shown on the Virgin Media Sports Channel, which will mean that the games will only be free for Virgin Media customers. Those outside that camp must either defect to Virgin Media or shell out up to €20 a month for the new sports channel.
The semi-finals and finals of Champions League and Europa League will both be broadcast free to air.
The broadcaster retain the rights for the Six Nations, but that must be shown free to air as it is protected by legislation.