S4C and the Celtic Crusaders announced an agreement to provide live coverage of a series of home fixtures in the Welsh rugby league club’s hunt for promotion this season.
The agreement will see four of the Crusaders’ Co-operative National League Two matches screened exclusively live on the Y Clwb Rygbi 13 programme this summer from their Brewery Field home in Bridgend.
The first game to be broadcast is Celtic Crusaders v Barrow Raiders on Saturday, June 9 (6.15pm) with three other league matches lined up this summer, subject to confirmation.
All the matches will be broadcast simultaneously free-to-air on S4C and S4C digidol, the channel’s digital service available on Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media in Wales and on Channel 135 on Sky in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The deal gives S4C the option of broadcasting live and exclusive coverage of Celtic Crusaders’ matches next season as the club bids to win a franchise for Super League status.
The TV deal will also involve S4C investing in the Celtic Crusaders’ Youth Academy, which is being set up as a nursery to cultivate the next generation of rugby league stars for the Crusaders in Wales.
Celtic Crusaders Chief Executive David Thompson said: “The agreement with S4C is another example of the growing interest in the Celtic Crusaders and rugby league in Wales.
“We are a Welsh club and not a regional club and the coverage to be provided by S4C will help introduce rugby league throughout Wales and take it to sports fans that have not yet experienced the game, hopefully helping us to win over even more fans.
“The Celtic Crusaders is now one of the fastest-developing clubs of any major sport in the UK, but the future of the club very much lies in the development of Welsh players and we will be investing heavily in our academy to ensure the player pathways are there for talented youngsters.
“S4C’s support for our youth academy is invaluable for the development of our future Welsh stars.”
Geraint Rowlands, S4C’s Content Editor Sport, said: “This broadcasting deal with the Celtic Crusaders is a significant addition to S4C’s ever-expanding rugby portfolio. It means that we can show quality rugby, across both codes, throughout the year, on the Channel.
“Viewers are in for a sizzling summer of sport on S4C following an ambitious rugby league club who may well be playing Super League in the not-too-distant future. S4C is keen to be part of the Celtic Crusaders’ growing success by providing coverage for a wider viewing public.”