Sky Sports snatches Top 14 rights from BT
April 18, 2014
Same cameras, different channel © Getty Images
The agreement between Sky Sports and BT Sports to share European rugby from next season was one born out of necessity and not so much a cease-fire as a pause to reload. The news that Sky has poached Top 14 rights from BT is, in view of that, hardly surprising.
BT Sport inherited the Top 14 rights from ESPN but only committed to a one-year deal, something that it might now be regretting after Sky agreed a five-year deal with Ligue Nationale de Rugby for the rights to cover 55 matches a season in a competition which is now the richest in the sport.
Neither ESPN or BT quite managed to find a way of best showcasing Top 14 and too often fans were left angry by schedule changes and games being showed on delayed transmission. With four front-line channels available, that problem is unlikely to occur on Sky.
For fans it will make little difference as they will still need to pay for both services to ensure they are able to see the best rugby. BT has the Premiership wrapped up, the pair share European rugby, and outside that Sky has Top 14 and Super Rugby on it books.
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Managing Editor, ESPN EMEA Digital Media