The splintering of the Champions Cup rights across Sky Sports and BT Sport has been the feature of the Champions Cup, since it was rebranded and shaken-up from the Heineken Cup, but that aspect of the competition is about to change.
Sky Sports announced a rebranding last week, which will now feature channels according to sport: so there'll be two football channels, a cricket channel, a golf channel, and another with everything else bundled in. The fact that there is no specific rugby channel was noted by many at the time, and now we have an explanation as to why that is.
They will not be broadcasting the Champions Cup from 2018-2022, the EPCR have announced today.
There is only one Pay TV broadcaster in the UK and Ireland for the next four years, and that will be BT. Encouragingly, some games may be shown on Free to Air TV, as the statement reads:
EPCR has also reserved the rights for free-to-air coverage in the UK and Ireland, allowing EPCR to meet its key objective of taking its matches to a larger audience and will take those rights to market at a later date. It comes after a boost in revenue was announced in France for the same period, with an option for increased free-to-air coverage.
This new deal launches at the start of the 2018/19 season, meaning that the games will continue to be split across Sky and BT next season.