The deal will mean that no fewer than 25 live Celtic League andCeltic Cupmatches will be produced in Ireland, but Setanta Sports will alsobroadcastgames involving Irish teams playing in Scotland and Wales.
It was also announced today that Setanta Sports will be available toallntl TV customers as part of their basic package which will result inover340,000 households having access to the Celtic League games.
"This is a major boost for Celtic Rugby and underlines theadvances ourtournaments are making. The biggest attraction is the increase in thenumber of live games which will increase our exposure and subsequentvaluefor our commercial partners. There is also provision being made for ahighlights package to be shown on Irish terrestrial TV," saidCeltic RugbyTournament Director Keith Grainger.
"The move to a full-blown, home and away Celtic League formatwas a hugesuccess last season and resulted in a significant increase in viewers
"This new broadcast deal, in conjunction with the existing andextremelystrong agreement with BBC Wales and S4C in Wales, will mean that moresports fans will get the chance to see more Celtic Rugby action."
The 2004/2005 Celtic League season will kick off on the first weekendofSeptember, with all 11 professional teams from the three CelticNationsplaying against each other both home and away with the LlanelliScarletsthe defending champions.
Once the league campaign is over, the top eight clubs will play in aCelticCup knock-out tournament which will culminate in a major final in May.
Niall Cogley, Chief Executive, Setanta Sports said; "We aredelighted tohave secured the rights to the Celtic League and we will use them tobroadcast an increased number of games to Irish viewers on our newlylaunched channel- Setanta Sports."