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Heineken Cup games are already going worldwide on television

MUNSTER Rugby, and all clubs involved in the European Rugby competitions, are set to benefit from the recent expansion of live tv coverage of major club matches. With the Heineken Champions Cup now being beamed throughout the world, marketing powers are being boosted beyond expectations. Munster have already stepped up their brand marketing drive with presentations in the United States and England in recent months.
Speaking in Thomond Park last Saturday before the Munster v Gloucester game, the club’s business executive Dougie Howlett said that they are determined to become the best rugby club in the world.
Fans across the world will have the chance to enjoy stars of the global game in European club rugby’s blue-riband tournament after a host of broadcasters and streaming services signed up to screen the Heineken Champions Cup.
Leinster Rugby’s triumph over Racing 92 in Bilbao back in May was shown in 115 countries and access to the tournament recognised as The One to Win is better than ever domestically from 2018/19. Bath Rugby’s Pool 1 clash with Toulouse in Round 1 of this season’s Heineken Cup launched free-to-air coverage in the United Kingdom (Channel 4) and Ireland (Virgin Media) in addition to the comprehensive coverage of BT Sport.
That match was also the first screened live in the USA at the start of a four-year deal with NBC Sports. The majority of Heineken Champions Cup matches will also be available in the USA on NBC Sports Gold.
The new model in the UK and Ireland replicates that of the current coverage in France where wide-ranging exposure to the live action on beIN SPORTS is supplemented by one live match per round on France Télévisions.
Where else can the action be seen around the world?
• DAZN have signed an agreement to take the tournament to audiences in Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and Switzerland. All Heineken Champions Cup matches will be live in Canada, Japan and Italy and the latter will also show Round 1 Challenge Cup action as Benetton Rugby host Grenoble in Pool 5 and Bristol Bears entertain Zebre Rugby Club, both on Saturday.
• RugbyPass will take the action to audiences in both Australia and South-East Asia for the next four seasons.
• After a very successful 2018 Finals weekend in Spain, Telefonica will launch their live coverage of the tournament when Leinster Rugby open their defence of the trophy against Wasps tomorrow evening.
• Spark will take the tournament to audiences in New Zealand until the end of the 2021/22 season. Until their sport platform launches at the start of 2019, their partners TVNZ Duke will show two matches per weekend on free-to-air television starting with the season opener at Leinster, before Scarlets take on Racing 92 at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.
• Meanwhile, SuperSport remain rightsholders of the tournament in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Fans are advised to check listings in their territory for confirmed coverage schedules. Several negotiations in other territories are still ongoing with EPCR’s international rights agency RDA and updates will be communicated on
List of international broadcasters
NBC – USA (including NBC Sports and NBC Sports Gold)
DAZN – Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland
GO – Malta
RugbyPass – Australia and South-East Asia
Rugby TV – Georgia
Spark (TVNZ Duke) – New Zealand
SportsMax – Caribbean
Sport TV – Portugal
SuperSport – Sub-Saharan Africa
Telefonica – Spain
TV Arena Sport – Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia

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