S4C and BBC Cymru Wales have secured a new four-year deal to broadcast live action from Magners League games until 2014.
The renewed deal between the broadcasters and Celtic Rugby – which runs the Magners League – means that rugby fans in Wales will be able to watch live action of games featuring all of the four Welsh teams on Friday evenings on BBC Two Wales’ Scrum V Live and on Saturday evenings on S4C on Y Clwb Rygbi. Televised rugby action will also be available to watch again on S4C’s on-line service, s4/clic and the BBC websites for seven days after the first broadcast.
With the current contract in place until the end of season 2009/10, the new contract – which covers television, radio and online coverage – will run from season 2010/11 through to season 2013/14. BBC Wales and S4C have broadcast coverage of the competition since it was first established as the Celtic League in 2001.
S4C Content Editor Sport Geraint Rowlands said: “S4C is delighted to be broadcasting coverage of the Magners League for a further four years. We believe that the joint S4C/BBC Wales deal provides viewers with the comprehensive coverage that this growing competition merits. We will continue to provide top-quality live coverage of the league every weekend, normally on Saturdays, with our highly-respected presentation team.”
BBC Cymru Wales Head of Sport Geoff Williams said: “It’s fantastic that we will continue our relationship with Celtic Rugby to bring rugby fans the Magners League action that audiences love. The league is now well established as must-see TV, providing competition for Wales’ four rugby regions against the best that Ireland and Scotland have to offer. During the 2008/09 season, BBC Wales’s Scrum V rugby coverage reached 300,000 rugby fans each week and we think fans across Wales will agree it’s great news that BBC Wales coverage of the league will continue.”
John Hussey, Chairman of Celtic Rugby said: “I am delighted to announce the further renewal of the television contracts with BBC Wales and S4C, both of whom have been quality broadcast partners of a quality competition. A measure of the stature of the Magners League is that participating teams have won the Heineken Cup in three out of the last four seasons as well as providing four quarterfinalists in this year’s competition. In addition to this there were 11 players from Magners League teams in the starting British & Irish Lions side who played South Africa at the weekend as well as six players among the replacements, giving an indication of the growth of the competition. The renewal of these broadcast partnerships will continue to enhance the viewing experience and reputation of the league.”