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France Télévisions grants Champions Cup further FTA coverage

Jordan Larmour of Leinster is tackled by Pita Ahki and Francois Cros during the Champions Cup Semi Final match between Leinster and Toulouse (by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Public-service broadcaster France Télévisions has enhanced its coverage of European club rugby union competition the Champions Cup through an expanded agreement covering at least the three seasons spanning 2019-20 to 2021-22.

The move is part of a tripartite arrangement between European Professional Club Rugby, the organising body of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, France Télévisions and its fellow principal broadcast partner in France, pay-television operator beIN Sports.

The agreement amends four-season contracts covering the 2018-19 to 2021-22 seasons of the two tournaments that were signed in May 2017. France Télévisions will now broadcast a second live free-to-air Champions Cup match each weekend.

In addition to its traditional Sunday afternoon fixture, France 2 will also screen a live Champions Cup match on each tournament Saturday. BeIN will be the host broadcaster for the additional matches with France 2 co-broadcasting on a free-to-air basis.

The additional free-to-air coverage in France will kick off in Round 1 when La Rochelle host Exeter Chiefs on November 16 at Stade Marcel Deflandre live on France 2 and beIN Sports. The following day, the clash of Racing 92 and reigning champions, Saracens, will also go out live on France 2 and beIN Sports.

EPCR director general, Vincent Gaillard, said: “As we get ready for the start of the tournament’s 25th anniversary season which will culminate in the Marseille 2020 Finals weekend, we are delighted that the Heineken Champions Cup will now have increased free-to-air broadcast exposure in France.”

Laurent-Eric Le Lay, France Télévisions director of sport, added: “This new agreement further emphasises our long-standing commitment to the tournament and to European club rugby.

“France Télévisions has a strong, historic association with the great game of rugby and we broadcast more than 60 fixtures each year including the Heineken Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup, as well as France’s test matches, the Six Nations Championship for both men and women, the Under 20 Six Nations Championship, the Pro D2, the finals of the women’s Elite 1 Championship and the Top 14 final.”