PRO14 Goes For Pay-TV Deal Over BBC In UK

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7 March 2018

Rugby fans in Wales, Scotland and Nothern Ireland will miss out on free-to-air PRO14 action on the BBC next season as the national broadcaster seems to have been outbid by pay-TV upstart Premier Sports.

BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, BBC Alba and S4C put together a competitive joint bid. Competition organisers are understood to have awarded the UK rights to the pay-TV service buit have not yet made that official.

In a statement, BBC Wales said:

"We're proud of our record of covering live Pro14 rugby across television, radio and online and we offered a significantly increased financial bid in order to safeguard these rights on a free-to-air basis for hundreds of thousands of viewers in Wales, and across the UK," it said.

"We know there will be a real disappointment at this outcome among hundreds of thousands of rugby fans who have enjoyed live free-to-air coverage on the BBC over many years."

The broadcaster said it hoped to be able to continue to offer TV highlights on a Sunday evening and would be seeking discussions with tournament organisers.

Negotiations over Welsh language rights are continuing.

Pro14 Rugby said on its website it had overseen a "highly-competitive tender process" with multiple pay and free-to-air operators across the UK and Republic of Ireland bidding for the broadcast rights.

"Pro14 Rugby is currently concluding negotiations for these rights ahead of the 2018/19 season and will confirm the final position to partners and supporters once the formal agreements are

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