Rugby union’s European Rugby Champions Cup top-tier continental clubs competition and second-tier Challenge Cup will be broadcast in over 100 countries during the 2022-23 season.

The coverage has been secured for the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) governing body and organizer of the competitions by sports marketing agencies Infront and River Media Partners, which were appointed earlier this year to distribute the international media rights.

Among the major deals secured are those with pay-TV’s BT Sport and free-TV’s ITV, RTE, and S4C in the UK, pay-TV broadcaster BeIN Media Group and public service broadcaster France Télévisions in France, and pay TV’s SuperSport in South Africa and several other African territories.

The agencies secured a number of first-time agreements with the likes of Viaplay (in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands), Polsat (Poland), Digi (Romania), and FanCode (India).

The new season begins today (December 9), with England’s London Irish taking on French side Montpellier Herault in the Champions Cup and Stade Francais Paris playing Benetton Rugby in the Challenge Cup.

It sees the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup welcome South African entrants for the first time.

Dominic McKay, chairman of EPCR, said: “Broadcasters are key to bringing our world-class competitions to ever-wider audiences. We want to create the best experience for fans globally and engage more viewers than ever before. What we have already seen in this joint partnership is a collaborative effort to work towards an overall roadmap to maximize our competitions’ reach. This is something that will not only help our own ambitions as the world’s biggest club competitions but also the game as a whole.”

Julien Ternisien, senior vice president for summer sports at Infront commented: “We want to embark on a long-term relationship with EPCR and our joint success alongside River Media Partners in this first season builds a good foundation for that. There is so much more we can leverage from the sport using the knowledge all three partners have and we are keen to tap into the competition’s full potential over the next few seasons to work towards even more ambitious commercial goals.”

Nick Chesworth, director of River Media Partners, added: “We have worked with EPCR for several years now and have always enjoyed a close working relationship with the team in-house. The addition of Infront means we are now able to take the tournament to a broader market on a global scale and contribute to the clear vision EPCR has of growing their competitions and the game of rugby.”

Image: EPCR – Pool/Getty Images