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S4C maintains long-standing ties with Pro14

Welsh public-service channel S4C has sealed a three-season extension to its rights deal with the Pro14 cross-border rugby union competition.

The new deal announced today (Tuesday) runs from 2018-19 to 2020-21. One game per round from the Pro14 will be screened by S4C, ensuring that Welsh-language commentary remains a part of the championship’s coverage.

The games, which will be produced by public-service broadcaster BBC Wales, a rights partner of the Pro14 under its last cycle, will also be broadcast live on television and online via the new-look S4C Clic service.

Of the 21 games, 17 will be simulcast live in conjunction with primary rights-holder, pay-television broadcaster Premier Sports, with a further four games, all of which will be Welsh derbies, to be screened on a delayed basis.

In addition, the Pro14 Final Series will be broadcast on a delayed basis by S4C if a Welsh region is involved, while a final with Welsh representation will be afforded live coverage.

The new agreement continues S4C’s long-standing relationship with the Pro14, one that stretches back to the championship’s inception in 2001.

Martin Anayi, Pro14 Rugby chief executive, said: “We have been working hard in the background to ensure the Guinness Pro14 remains on S4C because they have been passionate supporters of the championship since the very beginning.

“Free-to-air access remains a vital part of our broadcast offering while we also recognise the affinity that fans have for local language broadcasters such as S4C and TG4 in Ireland.”

In April, the Pro14 concluded three-season rights deals in the UK and Northern Ireland with Premier Sports and free-to-air digital television channel FreeSports, with the former set to launch a new channel to showcase its coverage.

All 152 games are to be broadcast in high definition on Premier Sports HD, with no fewer than 21 games, or one per round, shown live on FreeSports.