eir sport have announced that its first broadcast from the Guinness PRO14 season will be made free to air to celebrate the channel becoming the new ‘home’ of rugby in Ireland.
Fans will be able to watch Leinster’s visit to the Cardiff Blues in high definition on eir sport 1 without a subscription, while the game will also be available on eir sport’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
It will be a big opportunity to show off the new talent on board for the coverage as well as the production quality which has been promised.
Going out live on the social media channels will also serve as an access point for Virgin TV subscribers who currently have no access to the eir Sport pack, unlike those on Sky or Saorview.
eir Broadband customers gain free access to the channels as part of their subscription.
The occasional use of free to air has been used in the past, most notably by BT Sport in the UK broadcasting the last two Champions’ League Finals on YouTube.
On the first weekend alone, five games from Round 1 will be broadcast live on eir Sport including home games for Connacht (v Glasgow Warriors), Ulster (v Scarlets) and Munster (v Toyota Cheetahs).
Back in May eir sport announced a ground-breaking deal with the Guinness PRO14 to broadcast every game for the next three seasons, while just last week the presentation team fronted by Tommy Bowe was revealed.
Bowe heads a high class panel of experts including former internationals, Luke Fitzgerald, Donncha O’Callaghan and Mary Louise ‘Maz’ Reilly along with The42.ie rugby journalist, Murray Kinsella.
The eir sport commentary team will be made up of Conor Morris and Liam Toland. Maz Reilly will act as the pitch side reporter for all Leinster and Munster home fixtures and Murray Kinsella will be the main presenter of a Guinness PRO14 weekly highlights magazine show which will review and preview each round of games.
Fans can look forward to over 30 hours of Guinness PRO14 programming every week throughout the season.
“We are the new home of rugby in Ireland and we want to show as many fans as possible what to expect from our coverage this season,” said Susan Brady, Managing Director of Consumer and Small Business at eir.
“All rugby fans can get a taste of the action on eir sport 1 in HD as we broadcast the first game of the season free to air and across our social channels. This will give rugby fans an opportunity to experience our fresh new approach for the coming season.”
“Plus we have a fantastic redeveloped studio, an exciting new team of presenters and mouth-watering games to broadcast. We are excited to get started.”
“Today’s announcement by eir sport that they will screen the opening night clash of our European champions Leinster Rugby as they face Cardiff Blues, free to air in the Republic of Ireland is great news,” added PRO14 Rugby CEO Martin Anayi.
“By broadcasting on social media, it sits perfectly with the mission of eir sport and PRO14 Rugby to be innovative in how we engage with a younger, wider audience who choose to consume their sport across all devices using apps such the eir sport app.”
Image Credit: Billy Stickland, Inpho.ie