Sky ousts BBC to capture rights to Heineken Cup

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The Independent Online

The Heineken Cup is to follow the exodus from terrestrial television led by England's autumn internationals and the Zurich Premiership.

Sky Sports have added the European club competition to their portfolio after agreeing a three-year deal with European Rugby Cup in a move which concludes the BBC's involvement, gaining live coverage of the tournament itself and its second-tier competition, the Parker Pen Challenge Cup.

Sky Sports will cover at least three matches on Heineken Cup weekends, both semi-finals and the final, and they will also televise the latter stages of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup. A highlights programme will round up the remaining action.

"This is an exciting year for rugby with the World Cup taking place in Australia, and many of the game's biggest names will be returning to Europe at the end of November to take part in the Heineken Cup," the ERC chairman, Jean-Pierre Lux, said. "This new broadcast partnership is set to provide some wonderful entertainment."