Matchroom streams Championship League on OTT platform as Eurosport secures rights

Matchroom.Live, the global streaming platform launched by the Matchroom Sport agency and promoter, will provide coverage of snooker’s Championship League across the Americas, Asia and Africa, while international sports broadcaster Eurosport has acquired rights to the snooker tournament across Europe.

The Championship League will be broadcast live and free of charge across the Americas, Asia and Africa on Matchroom.Live after the new platform was named as the title sponsor of the event. The Championship League begins on June 1 and runs for 11 consecutive days as live snooker returns at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

Plans were last week announced for the Championship League to return from June 1-11 at Marshall Arena, with the event to be covered live in the UK by commercial broadcaster ITV. The rights now secured by Eurosport exclude the UK.

The competition will take place without fans and strict rules on social distancing, hygiene and Covid-19 testing will be enforced. The event will see snooker become the first major UK sport to resume with live televised action following the Covid-19 outbreak.

The non-ranking event is organised by Matchroom Sport and will feature 64 players in round-robin groups.

Fans across North and South America, Asia (excluding China), Africa and in New Zealand will be able to watch the tournament in its entirety at Matchroom.Live by registering for a free account, with live coverage of both tables available.

First revealed in March, Matchroom.Live launched earlier this month and will stream ongoing events in territories where broadcast deals have not been struck. As well as live coverage, Matchroom.Live subscribers will also be able to watch every Championship League match in full, on demand, within 24 hours of its conclusion.

Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn said: “This is the first taster of what Matchroom.Live will provide year-round; live coverage of major sport from across our group in territories where the event isn’t otherwise being broadcast.

“Safety is our highest priority on this event and it is thanks to our hard work and dedication that we are in a position for televised snooker action to return; the first major sporting event in the UK to do so.”

The Championship League will be broadcast exclusively in over 50 European markets by Eurosport and its OTT platform Eurosport Player.

Eurosport already has a significant commitment to the sport, having signed a new 10-year agreement with World Snooker in April 2016 to broadcast all of the major tournaments on the calendar, including the Home Nations Series, Masters and World Snooker Championship.

Andrew Georgiou, president of Eurosport and global sports rights and sports marketing solutions, said: “We know people have been missing live sport and through the Championship League we are aiming to leverage Discovery’s sports platforms to bring world-class snooker to millions of fans across the continent.

“Despite the challenges of this pause, Eurosport has actively strengthened its offering for content-hungry fans we await the safe return of sport more widely. We wholeheartedly support Matchroom’s safety measures through our own technology infrastructure which protects the well-being of our own staff and everyone involved.”

The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson are all set to feature in the Championship League.