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September 8, 2022

EPCR renews in France with BeIN and France Télévisions

The deals cover the four-year period until the end of the 2025-26 season.

By Stu Robarts

The European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) continental governing body has renewed its broadcast deals in France with BeIN Sports, the flagship channel of international pay-television broadcaster BeIN Media Group, and public service broadcaster France Télévisions.

Both deals, announced today (September 8), cover the four-year period until the end of the 2025-26 season and had been rumored in August.

France Télévisions has covered the flagship Champions Cup since its inaugural 1995–96 season and BeIN has been a partner since 2014-15.

The broadcasters will continue to cover the top-tier Champions Cup rugby union competition and Challenge Cup competition, which is contested by amateur, semi-professional, and professional clubs from England, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

France Télévisions will continue to show two Champions Cup matches and one Challenge Cup match free-to-air each gameweek for the duration of the deal.

The deals are the latest in a series of new broadcast partnerships or renewal that EPCR has announced, including in the US with the FloSports streaming platform and in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa with pay-television broadcaster SuperSport.

Further broadcast deals for the UK and Ireland are to be announced soon.

EPCR is also part of a multifaceted partnership announced recently by Qatar Airways.

BeIN Sports, meanwhile, recently secured rights in France to the delayed Rugby League World Cup national teams tournament, while it was announced in June that France Televisions had extended its deal to cover the final of domestic rugby union’s Top 14 until 2027.

Dominic McKay, chairman of the EPCR, said: “After a sensational conclusion to our 2021-22 season with the finals weekend in Marseille, we are looking forward to the commencement of the 2022-23 season when 44 clubs in our two competitions reignite rivalries on the road to Dublin. We know BeIN Sports and France Télévisions consistently deliver to the premium benchmark we expect of our partners in showcasing our world-class tournaments.

“With the five South African clubs competing for the first time, there will also be some intriguing new rivalries between global superstars of South Africa and France, and beIN Sports and France Télévisions will play crucial roles in bringing that intriguing narrative to French fans.”

Martin Aurenche, vice president of sports content and acquisitions at BeIN Media Group, added: “Since the 2014/15 season, BeIN Sports subscribers have had the pleasure of watching the most prestigious club rugby competitions with our extensive coverage of all Heineken Champions Cup matches, as well as at least two EPCR Challenge Cup fixtures involving French clubs, in every round.”

“We have the Autumn Internationals, the Super League and the NRL on our platform, and following our recent acquisition of the Rugby League World Cup, our expert team of commentators and analysts make BeIN Sports the essential rugby broadcaster in France.”

Laurent-Eric Le Lay, director of sport at France Télévisions, commented: “We will make the competitions even more accessible to viewers with two top Heineken Champions Cup fixtures on France 2 and one EPCR Challenge Cup match on France 3 each weekend.

“The recent success of French clubs in EPCR competitions, most notably the Heineken Champions Cup wins by Stade Toulousain in 2021 and by Stade Rochelais in 2022, combined with France winning the Six Nations Grand Slam, has generated huge interest and close to 48 million viewers watched rugby on France Télévisions last season alone.

“Now, as we enter an historic new phase of EPCR’s competitions with the inclusion of South African clubs, we have an opportunity to showcase new rivalries and to attract even more viewers.”

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