With the 2022/23 season getting under way this weekend, Viaplay will show at least four EPCR Challenge Cup matches in each of the pool stage rounds in the UK, starting on Friday night with the Pool A clash between USAP and Bristol Bears at the Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan.

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In a further expansion of the coverage of its tournaments, EPCR is pleased to announce a two-year partnership with Viaplay who will broadcast the EPCR Challenge Cup in the UK until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.

Ed Breeze, Viaplay Group Head of Sports UK, said: “We are thrilled to partner with EPCR and to secure even more world-class rugby to complement our URC and TOP 14 coverage. Rugby is a top priority for Viaplay in the UK, and our viewers can look forward to some of the very best action from the EPCR Challenge Cup over the coming two years.”

EPCR Chairman, Dominic McKay, said: “This is a momentous season for the tournaments as we welcome the leading South African clubs into the EPCR fold, and Viaplay are an important addition to the wide range of subscription and free-to-air agreements we have in place for the new broadcast cycle. Already broadcasting our League competitions, the BKT United Rugby Championship and LNR’s TOP 14, Viaplay have rugby broadcast experience in place and are certain to bring new viewers to the tournament in the UK.”

Renowned former players such as John Barclay, Bob Skinstad, Tom Shanklin and Matt Banahan will be among Viaplay’s analysts for its EPCR Challenge Cup coverage, with Ross Harries, Emma Dodds and Graham Little as presenters.

Viaplay’s Round 1 live fixtures are as follows:
• USAP v Bristol Bears – Friday 9 December (20.00)
• Emirates Lions v Dragons RFC – Saturday 10 December (10.45)
• Bath Rugby v Glasgow Warriors – Saturday 10 December (13.00)
• Section Paloise v Toyota Cheetahs – Saturday 10 December (13.00)
• Connacht Rugby v Newcastle Falcons – Saturday 10 December (17.30)

Viaplay launched in the UK on 1 November and has rights to the BKT United Rugby Championship and TOP 14 in its rugby portfolio. Its live sports line-up includes all qualifying matches for the UEFA EURO and FIFA World Cup played by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s men’s teams until 2028. It also shows LaLiga, Scottish Cup, Viaplay Cup and Coppa Italia football; NHL and Viaplay Elite League ice hockey; PDC European Tour darts and much more.

With the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup set for a viewership boost in the coming seasons, today’s announcement follows previous confirmation of multi-year broadcast agreement renewals by BT Sport in the UK and Ireland, by beIN SPORTS and France Télévisions in France, and by S4C in Wales.

In addition, ITV and RTÉ have come on board in the UK and Ireland to provide free-to-air coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup which will enhance fan access to one of the world’s most celebrated club rugby competitions which is entering its 28th year, while SuperSport are now the exclusive broadcaster of the tournaments in sub-Saharan Africa as the DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks make their historic first steps in the tournament.

EPCR have also agreed a multi-year agreement with the streaming platform, FloRugby, as the exclusive broadcaster of the competitions in the USA until the conclusion of the 2024/25 season.

The deal is part of a groundbreaking alliance which will see the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup bundled with key fixtures in the BKT United Rugby Championship and the TOP 14 allowing viewers in America unprecedented access to all four competitions on the one digital platform.

The Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup will be played over eight weekends and the journey to the 2023 finals at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium – for which close to 60,000 tickets have already been sold – kicks off on Friday.