Virgin Media will remain in the European club game broadcasting market after securing multi-platform rights to the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League, and the new Uefa Europa Conference League for the 2021-24 seasons.
In March, it appeared that the commercial television station’s long association with the main competition would end but they will provide live coverage of a selected Wednesday match in the schedule.
RTÉ Sport had secured 16 matches on Tuesday nights from 2021 to 2024 but Virgin’s previous package to show all matches was granted in June to Livescore. They will have every game available free on their app.
BT Sport are another of Uefa’s partners showing all Champions League games to its Irish subscribers.
As part of today’s deal, Virgin will also have rights to show every match in the Uefa Europa League, as well as the Uefa Europa League final and the UEFA Super Cup.
Virgin Media will also be the exclusive Irish broadcaster for every match in the inaugural Uefa Europa Conference League which will potentially feature several League of Ireland teams each season. Bohemians, Dundalk, and Shamrock Rovers are in third-round action this week.
The new deal means popular Irish pundits such as Brian Kerr and Damien Delaney will continue to provide in-studio analysis from the station’s Ballymount base.
The sub-licensing agreement with Saran Media Group will also include archive content from the Champions League and Europa League as well as the UEFA Super Cup for the next three seasons.
Paul Higgins, vice president of commercial at Virgin Media, said: “This is fantastic news for Irish football fans as we continue to bring the best of European football to their screens including the Champions League, Europa League, Super Cup, Nations League, and the new Europa Conference League which will potentially include League of Ireland clubs.
“Today’s development comes hot on the heels of the announcement of ongoing joint contract discussions between Six Nations, Virgin Media Television, and RTÉ to ensure that all three Six Nations Championships (Men’s Six Nations, Women’s Six Nations, and Men’s Under 20’s tournaments) remain available on free-to-air television with an unprecedented level of coverage.
“To complement this coverage we’re excited to be able to bring viewers even more local Irish content with the expansion of the highly successful Sports Stories series. Over the coming months, we will be announcing some of the country’s biggest sports stars who will be sitting down to tell their Sports Story.”