Champions League Change Up on Irish TV

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This move will be seen as another blow to RTE, who lost the rights to the Six Nations in 2017.

RTÉ's coverage of premier sporting events will shrink further after TV3 won the rights to broadcast the majority of Champions League football matches from next season.

Previously, Champions League matches had been shared between RTÉ and TV3 on terrestrial television in Ireland and, while that is still the case, the carve-up has changed somewhat.

The new deal will see the Ballymount-based broadcaster share the rights to 16 Tuesday night Champions League matches with RTÉ; with the latter having first choice of game broadcast.

A spokesperson for Virgin told the Irish Independent: "Virgin Media and TV3 are simply announcing this landmark rights deal - which has just been established - and they will then be providing more information in due course". There will now be two kick-off times - 5:55pm and 8pm. TV3 will have first pick for Wednesday and be able to show games at both kick-off times.

Up until now, RTE had the rights for Wednesday night Champions League matches and the final while Eir also showed Champions League games on Tuesday and Wednesday as well as Europa League matches on Thursdays.

The deal, which comes into effect in August this year, also includes exclusive rights to all UEFA Champions League final round qualifiers, which Celtic and the Super Cup and all highlights rights to both UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for the next three years.

TV3's hand has been strengthened by the backing of Virgin Media and its American owners, Liberty Global.

The move by Virgin is the latest in its ever-expanding live sport portfolio which now includes the majority of the Champions League and Europa League, the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations, the Champions Cup and United Kingdom racing.

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