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United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C

New Cardiff Rugby signing Rhys Priestland warms up for the 2021-22 United Rugby Championship season which will be broadcast on BBC Wales and S4C

United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C

BBC Wales and S4C will broadcast 75 per cent of the games involving the four Welsh regions for the next four years after a new television deal was struck with the United Rugby Championship.

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The 2021/22 season – which kicks-off on September 24 – will see what was previously the Guinness PRO14 become the United Rugby Championship.

With 16 teams taking part, the tournament will welcome four new South African sides in the Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls for the first time.

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The United Rugby Championship will be available live on free-to-air television in the UK with BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland and S4C showcasing the best of the new global league.

These agreements follow on from the free-to-air partnerships announced in the Republic of Ireland with TG4 and RTÉ. This will be supported by URC’s long-term broadcast partner Premier Sports who will provide in-depth live coverage of all 151 games in both territories for the first time.

Martin Anayi, United Rugby Championship chief executive, said: “Our agreements with BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Wales and S4C is a progressive move to broaden access at a time when we have made a transformative change to our league.

“Alongside our deals with RTÉ and TG4 in the Republic of Ireland, over 75 per cent of games in those territories will be available live on free to air.

“This will provide a major uplift in our audience reach and increase the access for fans of all ages to connect with top-level rugby week after week.

“Over the next four years the exposure these agreements provide will be a great boost for our clubs as we establish the United Rugby Championship as one of the world’s leading leagues.”

Both BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Wales make a welcome return to the competition’s broadcast group while S4C’s partnership will run to 25 years by the end of this new agreement due to their remarkable support for the league that dates back to 2001 when they first broadcast the Celtic League.

The agreement with BBC Wales and S4C will run for four years and ensure that Welsh fans have access to at least two free-to-air games per round while the Boxing Day, New Year and Judgement Day derbies will be shared between both broadcasters each season.

“This is a brilliant package of coverage for rugby fans over the next four years,” said Rhuanedd Richards, director of content and services for BBC Cymru Wales.

“It’s great news viewers will be able to watch a range of games by tuning into Scrum V as well as Y Clwb Rygbi on S4C, both produced by our talented team at BBC Cymru Wales and all free-to-air.

“It’s a brilliant addition for the rugby community which underlines our commitment to Welsh sport.”

Sue Butler, S4C sports commissioner, added: “S4C is looking forward to joining forces with BBC Wales to show the new United Rugby Championship on free-to-air television.

“We’ve been with the Welsh regions from the very start and with 27 games including the festive derbies and Judgement Day, our output and commitment are greater than ever.”

KEY FACTS

BBC Wales will broadcast 18 live games per season, one in each round using their primary slot of 19:35 on Fridays

S4C will broadcast 27 live games per season with English language commentary available on red button.

All URC Final Series matches involving Welsh teams will be available live on free to air with the broadcasters allocating matches using a pre-agreed picks system.

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United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
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United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
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United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
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United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
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United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
United Rugby Championship returns to BBC Wales and S4C
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