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LiveScore acquires Champions League rights package in Ireland; all matches to be streamed for free
02 Jun 2021 : Nathan Griffin
All 137 UEFA Champions League (UCL) matches will be available free-to-air on the LiveScore app for users in Ireland over the next three years.

The global sports media business and stream service provider, better known as a leading real-time sports updates provider, has acquired the Irish free-to-air UCL rights package in a landmark three year deal.

The unexpected deal, which will commence at the beginning of the 2021/22 Champions League campaign, will see LiveScore become the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster of 104 UCL fixtures per season in Ireland. The remaining 33 ties, including the UEFA Champions League Final, will also be live-streamed on a non-exclusive basis.

The landmark deal means Irish viewers will have to move away from the traditional medium of television to watch the games in a free-to-air capacity via the LiveScore app on their mobile or tablet device. LiveScore has however confirmed thar there will be a further option for viewers to “cast” to action onto their TV screens.

As of next year, Champions League coverage in Ireland will now be available across four different platforms during the next three seasons.

Virgin previously held free-to-air rights to all Champions League and Europa League matches during the current cycle (2018-21), while RTÉ held a package of non-exclusive free-to-air rights to the first-pick Champions League match on Tuesdays.

RTÉ has since confirmed that the public broadcaster has extended its UEFA Champions League rights from 2021- 2024 with 16 live matches on Tuesday nights and the addition of the UEFA Champions League Final and Tuesday night highlights.

The non-exclusive UCL rights have been snapped up UK-based pay-television broadcaster BT Sport, who renewed their Champions League and Europa League rights in Ireland. BT also retained its exclusive UEFA club competition rights in the UK for the new 2021-24 cycle, agreeing to pay £400m (€444m/$539m) per season.

Live Score will now have access to 137 matches; BT will have access to 137 matches; RTÉ will have access to 16 Tuesday games plus the UCL Final; and rights for 16 Wednesday match are yet to be announced.

LiveScore’s surprise acquisition comes months after news broke of Virgin Media Television’s decision to withdraw from UCL renewal discussions in March. This came following rumours that a bidding war had broken out due to the entry of a new mystery bidder with many expecting DAZN or Amazon Prime Video to emerge with the UCL rights package for Ireland. 

At the time, Ballymount-based broadcaster said they were “happy to walk away” after confirming they were unable to retain the rights to the UEFA Champions League coverage for the next three years.

UEFA Marketing Director, Guy-Laurent Epstein welcomed LiveScore as the new broadcaster of UEFA Champions League rights in the Republic of Ireland. “We are excited to see the innovative coverage it will deliver and to bring comprehensive coverage of the best of European club football to Irish fans for free,”Epstein added.

Speaking about the acquisition, LiveScore Marketing Director, Ric Leask said that everyone at LiveScore was extremely excited about the significant new rights deal. “We look forward to being there for every step of the season, as we bring our users closer to the action with oir full offering of live-streamed matches and supporting content,” Leask added.

Livescore is owned by the Anzo Group of companies, which also consists of LiveScore Platform and two online gambling services – LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet.

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