Future of Heineken Cup at risk due to English clubs' TV deal13/09/2012 - 11:56:10
The future of the Heineken Cup and European rugby in general remains uncertain after English clubs’ governing body, Premiership Rugby, announced it has agreed a new £152m deal with broadcaster BT.
This new deal gives BT exclusive rights to broadcast European rugby games involving Aviva Premiership teams for three years, starting in 2014.
The move comes after Premiership Rugby and the French Top 14 threatened to pull out of the Heineken Cup unless ERC alters the current qualification process which they believe favours teams competing in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Pressure is also being applied to current broadcaster Sky after BT entered the rugby market by securing the rights to 69 domestic English matches.
However ERC has released a statement claiming that BT have not secured the rights to European Rugby matches as ERC possesses the sole authority to sell these broadcast rights.
“European club rugby's six participant Unions have granted the authority to sell broadcast rights to its tournaments solely to ERC," read the statement.
"It was unanimously agreed at an ERC board meeting on June 6, 2012 that ERC would conclude a new four-year agreement with Sky Sports for the UK and Ireland exclusive live broadcast rights to the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup until 2018. Premiership Rugby was party to that decision.
"ERC remains determined to honour its own commercial commitments and to continue its work to further develop the European club game."
Sky also released a statement confirming their entitlement to broadcast Heineken and Amlin Cup matches, including matches featuring English teams, until the end of the current deal in 2018.
Further response from European Rugby’s governing body can be expected after next Tuesday when all ERC stakeholders are due meet in Dublin.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.