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Eurosport today announced it has secured the rights to show this season's Guinness PRO14 in 62 countries and territories across Europe and Discovery-owned Rugbypass and Setanta in Asia.
Now in its second season as a broadcast partner of the competition, the agreement will see Eurosport and Eurosport Player show all home and selected away games – if locally produced - featuring Italian teams in the Guinness PRO14, underlining its strategy to showcasing premium content exclusively live for millions of passionate sports fans.
Eurosport Italia will have exclusive rights to the competition.
The 2017-18 season kicked off last weekend (1 September) with Eurosport showing Munster's defeat of Benetton Rugby in Cork and will continue this weekend when Benetton host Ulster. Eurosport will also broadcast Scarlets' trip to the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi to take on Zebre on Sunday.
Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton said: “At Eurosport we are committed to giving our viewers the very best in premium sporting content and we are thrilled to once again be a part of the Guinness PRO14 after coming on board last season for the first time.
"We have had a taste of this competition already and were royally entertained and we cannot wait to build on what we delivered last season by adding the option to watch games on the Eurosport Player. The expansion of the Championship into South Africa brings a truly unique dynamic to the Guinness PRO14.”
Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, said: “To have Discovery Eurosport on board once again is fantastic news for our fans in Italy as well as across Europe and Asia. As a broadcast partner we were delighted to see what Eurosport could bring to the table during the last campaign.
“This year, Eurosport will broadcast even more games to supporters across Europe and Asia and we’re particularly excited that Guinness PRO14 games will be made available on the Eurosport Player. From a digital perspective sports fans are incredibly savvy and they are pushing the market to deliver more and more products like the Eurosport Player and it’s great to know that fans in over 60 countries will be able to access that.”
The newly-expanded Guinness PRO14, now in its 17th season, features four Irish teams (Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster), two Italian sides (Benetton Rugby and Zebre), two Scottish outfits (Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors), four Welsh teams (Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets) as well as two new additions this year from South Africa (Cheetahs and Southern Kings). Eurosport broadcast the competition for the first time in 41 markets during the 2016-17 season.
Securing the rights to the Guinness PRO14 adds to an impressive portfolio of rugby content that includes all of England's autumn Test matches for four years from 2017 in Europe (except France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and UK and Ireland), France's autumn Tests from 2017-2020 across Europe (except UK and Ireland and France) and European club cup competitions in 47 countries and territories in Europe.
Guinness PRO14 matches available to watch in September on Eurosport and Eurosport Player (in territories where Eurosport holds the rights):
1 September - Munster vs Benetton Rugby
2 September - Ospreys vs Zebre
9 September - Benetton Rugby vs Ulster
9 September - Zebre vs Scarlets
17 September - Cheetahs vs Zebre
22 September - Benetton Rugby vs Ospreys
23 September - Southern Kings vs Zebre
30 September - Zebre vs Ulster
Eurosport will have exclusive rights to the Guinness PRO14 competition live in Europe in: Italy, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vatican State
Eurosport via Discovery-owned Setanta Asia and Rugbypass, will have exclusive rights to the Guinness PRO14 competition live in Asia in: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam