Virgin Media have lost the rights to broadcast the Champions League in Ireland from the 2021/22 season, it has been announced today.
The network had been in negotiations with UEFA over a new three-year deal which would likely have seen them continue with their current package of Wednesday games on Virgin Media One, as well as other games on their Virgin Media Sport channels.
In all, they broadcast over 300 Champions League and Europa League games in a given season.
However, an increased value in the package has seen them bow out of the running this time, despite submitting what Virgin Media Television managing director Paul Farrell described as a 'competitive bid'.
RTÉ will maintain the Tuesday slot that they have filled for the last few years, which sees them have the pick of the games taking place on that night.
It remains to be seen who will replace Virgin in the other slot.
There has been some speculation that streaming giants Amazon Prime Video or DAZN (who have just won the German Champions League rights) could make a play for for the Irish rights for the competition.
It certainly seems likely that the games will be moving to some streaming service for the next three seasons.
Champions League games are also available on UK right owners BT Sport for Irish viewers who have a subscription to that channel, with their package already renewed for the upcoming cycle.
Moving the games to an online streaming service would certainly be another hit to the pocket, with the fragmented nature of live sports coverage meaning it is becoming increasingly expensive to keep up to date with.