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 can watch Leinster’s visit to Cardiff Blues on Friday, August 31 (kick-off 7.35pm) 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.
On the first weekend of the GUINNESS PRO14 alone, five games from round 1 will be broadcast live including home matches for the three other Irish provinces – Connacht (v Glasgow Warriors), Ulster (v Scarlets) and Munster (v Toyota Cheetahs).
eir can also confirm that they will become the official GUINNESS PRO14 match official sponsors for the coming season. The eir logo will appear on the front of match official jerseys, shorts and tracksuits while also appearing on the bibs of the team medical staff, water carriers, ball boys, competition photographers and TV crews.
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 recently-retired Ulster and Ireland star Tommy Bowe was revealed.
Bowe heads a stellar panel of experts including former Ireland internationals Luke Fitzgerald, Donncha O’Callaghan and Marie Louise Reilly, along with the42.ie rugby journalist Murray Kinsella. The eir Sport commentary team will be made up of Connor Morris and Liam Toland.
Reilly will act as the pitchside reporter for all Leinster and Munster home fixtures, and Kinsella will be the main presenter of a GUINNESS PRO14 weekly highlights magazine show which will review and preview each round. Fans can look forward to over 30 hours of PRO14 programming on eir Sport every week throughout the season.
Susan Brady, eir Ireland’s Managing Director of Consumer and Small Business, commented; “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. 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 FTA 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.”
Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, said: “Today’s announcement by eir Sport that they will screen the opening night clash of our two reigning European champions, Cardiff Blues and Leinster, free-to-air in the Republic of Ireland is great news.
“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 as the eir Sport app.
“eir Sport also join us as our match official sponsors with their brand appearing on our referees’ kits. This sponsorship has allowed us to invest record amounts in our match officials which will make a significant impact in the GUINNESS PRO14 over the next three seasons.”
The seven-channel eir Sport pack includes eir Sport 1, eir Sport 2, BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport 3, BoxNation and BT Sport ESPN. The eir Sport pack is available on eir Vision, on the eir Sport App, on Vodafone TV and on Sky in the Republic of Ireland. eir broadband residential customers can receive the eir Sport pack for free. For more information on eir Sport, visit www.eirsport.ie.