UK sports broadcaster expands its rugby coverage with highly-prized top flight French rugby

UK broadcaster Premier Sports has announced that it has secured UK and Ireland TV rights for French Rugby’s top flight competition - the TOP 14 - for two years to include the finale of this season’s 2020/2021 tournament.

France’s TOP 14 is renowned throughout the world as one of the most intense club rugby competitions showcasing the world’s best players from across France, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the UK and Australia.  Rugby fans across the UK and Ireland will now be able to tune-in weekly to watch France’s top club teams battle it out for the coveted TOP 14 title and to lift the Brennus Shield.

Clubs in the TOP 14 are some of Europe’s finest including Toulouse, La Rochelle, Racing 92, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Bordeaux Bègles, Stade Français, Toulon, Castres, Lyon, Montpellier, Brive, Bayonne, Pau, Agen.

The announcement follows two prominent TOP 14 French clubs winning the European Rugby double at the weekend with Toulouse crowned Champions Cup winners and Montpellier winning the Challenge Cup. Toulouse are also the current leaders of the TOP 14 with La Rochelle in second and Racing 92, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Bordeaux-Bègles and Stade Français in play-off contention.

Premier Sports coverage of the TOP 14 for rugby supporters starts this weekend (May 28/29) and includes the final two rounds (25 & 26) plus the play-off series between the top 6 clubs which leads up to semi-finals on June 18/19 and the Final on June 25th.  

Premier Sports new rights agreement with TOP 14 includes a two-year deal for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons with the pick of four live games each and a weekly TOP 14 highlights show. TOP 14 rugby will be shown across a mix of its channels - Premier Sports 1 and 2 and its free-to-air sister channel FreeSports, which will broadcast the play-off series, the semi-finals and the final on free-to-air this season.

Premier Sports is the host broadcaster for rugby’s Guinness PRO14, showing every game live on its channels. It will have broadcast more than 350 hours of live rugby across 139 PRO14 games this season including the current PRO14 Rainbow Cup which features South Africa’s four super teams: Vodacom Bulls, DHL Stormers, Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions.

Premier Sports coverage of the France’s TOP 14 rugby starts this weekend:

  • Fri 28 May Stade Français v Lyon Premier Sports 2 (KO 7.45pm UK)
  • Sat 29 May Toulon v Bordeaux Bègles Premier Sports 2 (KO 1.45pm UK)
  • Sat 29 May La Rochelle v Pau Premier Sports 2 & FreeSports (KO 4pm UK)
  • Sat 29 May Toulouse v ASM Clermont Auvergne Premier Sports 2 and FreeSports (KO 8.05pm)
  • Mon 30th May TOP 14 highlights show 8pm Premier Sports & FreeSports (8pm – 8.30pm)

Chief Executive of Premier Sports Richard Sweeney said: “Premier Sports is absolutely delighted to bring even more world-class live rugby to its channels for sports fans by securing rights to Europe’s renowned TOP 14 competition.

“TOP 14 is home to many of the world’s greatest rugby players and is supported by 14 of France’s most successful clubs with strong identities and passionate fans.  The competition has a great heritage, brings intensity and drama in every round and has a respected track record of attracting interest from rugby fans around the world.

“Rugby continues to be a big priority for Premier Sports and we are committed to bring our customers the very best rugby action featuring the world rugby’s brightest stars every week live.”

René Bouscatel, President of the LNR (Ligue Nationalede Rugby) said: “The TOP 14 is the most attractive rugby league in the world, and we look forward to strengthening our links with two lands of rugby: the UK and Ireland. We are delighted that the British and Irish public, who know the game well, will be able to follow the exploits of the world's best players every weekend until 2023, thanks to Premier Sports.

France’s TOP 14 is home to a high profile mix of the world’s most talented rugby players including European Rugby’s player of the year Antoine Dupont (Toulouse/France), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse/SA), Finn Russell (Racing 92/Scotland), Morgan Parra (Clermont/France), Nicolas Sanchez (Stade Francais/Argentina), Handre Pollard (Montpellier/SA), Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Bègles/France); Benjamin Botica (Bordeaux-Begles/New Zealand), Zack Holmes (Toulouse/Australia);  Gregory Alldritt (La Rochelle/France), Will Skelton (La Rochelle/Australia), Jerome Kaino (Toulouse/New Zealand); Julien Marchand (Toulouse/France).