Channel 4 confirms opening live Champions Cup matches


A new era for elite European club rugby kicks off in October as live coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup returns to terrestrial television for the first time in 15 years.

While BT Sport becomes the exclusive pay-TV home of the competition this season, with every match broadcast live across its channels, the Champions Cup will be more accessible than ever to supporters with one key match per round broadcast live and free-to-air on Channel 4.

Former tournament winners Bath and Toulouse are set to kick off Channel 4’s live Champions Cup coverage when they meet in Pool 1 at the Recreation Ground on 13 October. This will be followed a week later by Munster’s home clash against Gloucester at Thomond Park.

The competition returns to action in early December and Channel 4 will broadcast the all-English round three clash between Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester on 8 December, followed by Cardiff Blues’ home fixture against two-time European champions Saracens on 15 December. They will also screen four-time champions Leinster’s home clash against Toulouse in the New Year.

All of Channel 4’s confirmed live matches from rounds one to five will kick off at 1.00pm on Saturday afternoons, with its live match from the final round of the pool stage to be confirmed after the conclusion of round five.

In total, nine live Champions Cup matches each season will be broadcast by Channel 4 from the Champions Cup, including one match from each of the six rounds of the pool stages, one quarter-final, a semi-final and the final, all of which will be simulcast with BT Sport.

Further details of Channel 4’s coverage, including presenting line-up, commentary team and production partner to produce its Champions Cup programming, which will include a highlights show from every round of the competition, will be confirmed in due course.

Commenting on Channel 4’s European rugby coverage, Stephen Lyle, Channel 4 Sports Commissioning Editor, said:

“We’re thrilled to be bringing top class rugby to Channel 4.

“The Champions Cup is one of the most prestigious rugby union tournaments featuring many of the best players in the world and I’m sure viewers will be delighted to see it returning to free to air television.”

Channel 4’s deal with EPCR marks the return of live European club rugby to free-to-air television since the BBC covered the former Heineken Cup until 2003, though ITV4 did show highlights of the competition between 2010 and 2012.

EPCR Marketing and Commercial Director, Carsten Couchouron, added:

“To have live Champions Cup rugby on Channel 4 will take the outstanding rugby experiences to more fans so we are delighted to increase our coverage through this partnership.

“Channel 4 has an exciting sports portfolio and we are delighted to add to that as part of our enhanced broadcast platforms in the United Kingdom.”

The battle to be crowned champions of European rugby begins in October and Channel 4 will bring live coverage of the drama round-by-round up to and including the final which will be held at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Saturday, 11 May 2019.

All 60 matches from the pool stages of the Heineken Champions Cup will be broadcast live on BT Sport, as well as every clash from the knockout stages. In addition, BT Sport will also show selected matches from the European Rugby Challenge Cup throughout the season.

For more information about the Heineken Champions Cup, visit the official EPCR website –


Bath v Toulouse
Heineken Champions Cup: Round 1



Munster v Gloucester
Heineken Champions Cup: Round 2



Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester
Heineken Champions Cup: Round 3



Cardiff Blues v Saracens
Heineken Champions Cup: Round 4



Leinster v Toulouse
Heineken Champions Cup: Round 5



Match TBC
Heineken Champions Cup: Round 6


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