BT Sport and Sky Sports reach compromise
March 27, 2014
Shared coverage is the future © Getty Images
The compromise deal between BT Sport and Sky Sports for the coverage of the new European club competitions has been revealed by the Daily Telegraph.
As expected, BT Sport will have first choice on three matches involving clubs in the Aviva Premiership for each of the six rounds of pool matches in the new elite tournament. Sky Sports will then have first pick for three matches of games not involving English sides, most likely the games involving high-profile games between the French Top 14 and Irish provinces or Welsh regions.
The remaining of the games will be divided between the two using a complex formula based around how many games each weekend involve English sides. That should enable Sky Sports to pick up matches from other Premiership sides.
The knockout stage is likely to be shared with each broadcaster showing two quarter-finals each and one of the semi-finals. The final - which the newspaper said will be brought forward from the end of May to the beginning of the month - will be broadcast by both.
Sky Sports will have the first pick on three matches involving English clubs in the second-tier competition (which will replace the Amlin Challenge Cup) with BT Sport then able to select three games that do not involve English sides.
The agreement removes the last obstacle to the successful launch of the new European competitions. Sky Sports had signed a contract to cover the existing Heineken Cup while BT Sport had a deal to broadcast the new tournament.
The news comes on the day Marc Watson, the man who was the driving force behind BT Sport's aggressive acquisition of rights, was leaving the company.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton