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Spark adds Champions Cup rights to growing sports portfolio

New Zealand telco Spark has struck a four-season deal for rights to European rugby union’s Champions Cup, from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

The deal, announced today, adds to Spark’s agreements for rights to England’s Premier League, as well as the men’s Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021.

New Zealand public-service broadcaster TVNZ will show two Champions Cup matches per match-week free-to-air via the TVNZ Duke channel on Saturday and Sunday mornings from October 13 until Spark’s sport platform launches (scheduled for early 2019).

From the launch of Spark’s platform, the telco will make all Champions Cup matches available via its sports streaming app. TVNZ will continue to show one match per match-week free-to-air on TVNZ Duke until the end of the season.

Spark struck its deal with the RDA agency, which distributes Champions Cup and Challenge Cup media rights globally, excluding the UK, Ireland, France and the US, on behalf of European Professional Club Rugby. EPCR rights in New Zealand were previously held by pay-television broadcaster Sky.