Scandinavian streaming service Viaplay and Sub-Saharan pay-TV broadcaster SuperSport have partnered to deliver a co-produced cross-hemisphere broadcast of the 2023 United Rugby Championship (URC) grand final.
The tie-up between two of the URC’s major broadcast partners, announced today (May 25), is described as a “world first for club rugby broadcasters in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres” and will see a single production aired both in South Africa and across the UK.
Viaplay and SuperSport will merge their matchday programming for Saturday’s (May 27) grand final, the culmination of the Europe-based rugby union clubs competition, between South Africa’s Stormers and Ireland’s Munster, with presenters and analysts from both broadcasters to feature.
The match will take place at the 55,000-seat Cape Town Stadium in South Africa’s legislative capital.
It will bring to a conclusion the second season of the URC since it was rebranded and revamped from its previous Pro14 guise.
Viaplay’s deal with the URC runs through 2025, with SuperSport’s current deal concluding after this season.
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The league’s title sponsor in the Northern Hemisphere only is automotive tire firm BKT through a deal struck in 2022.
Ed Breeze, head of sport for Viaplay UK, said: “At Viaplay, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring a high-quality viewing experience for our sports fans, and we are delighted to be partnering with SuperSport for this world-first in club rugby. Viaplay has a strong partnership with the BKT URC with every game broadcast live and this year’s final should be a fantastic spectacle of top-class rugby.”
Martin Anayi, chief executive of United Rugby Championship, added: “We are thrilled to see two of our broadcast partners work together in such an innovative way. There can be no great successes in the BKT URC without collaboration and we have seen that with our clubs and broadcasters throughout the season.
“We know there will be a sell-out crowd in Cape Town and now we know that the audiences in the UK and across South Africa will feel as close to the action as they can with this stellar line-up of talent on show. Our Grand Final is a unique event and it’s great to have the story-telling power of SuperSport and Viaplay combining to give fans an all-round experience of the game.”
Elsewhere, Viaplay has renewed its distribution deal with Polish mobile operator Play.
The new agreement will see Viaplay continue to be bundled as part of the TV packages offered by Play, which became Poland’s largest telecoms provider through a 2022 merger with rival UPC – with which Viaplay had also established a distribution partnership.
The new deal covers the fully merged organization.
With this in mind, the streaming service has characterized the renewal as “a significant step for Viaplay in reinforcing its position in the Polish market.”
Viaplay launched in Poland in August 2021 and holds rights in the country to the likes of soccer’s Premier League, Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Europa Conference League, motor racing's Formula 1, and ice hockey’s NHL.
Alexander Bastin, group chief commercial officer for continental Europe and the Baltics at Viaplay, said: “This new collaboration with Play is very positive news for both companies and for viewers. It demonstrates the strength and appeal of Viaplay’s offering in Poland. We are committed to delivering premium entertainment experiences to our valued Polish audience, and this deal makes it even easier for new and existing customers to enjoy Viaplay.”