BT and Sky caught up in European rugby union rights battle
A battle involving BT and Sky is developing over which broadcaster holds the rights to screen European rugby union matches involving English clubs.
On Wednesday (September 12th 2012), BT Vision announced an exclusive £152 million deal with Premiership Rugby to cover the Aviva Premiership for four years from 2013-14 and all fixtures involving English clubs in European competitions for three years from 2014-15.
This development came on the same day Sky claimed its own exclusive by unveiling the renewal of the live rights for the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup, extending its relationship with European Rugby Cup (ERC) to a 15th year.
The argument revolves around the validity of BT's deal, with ERC insisting Premiership Rugby's contract is "in breach both of International Rugby Board regulations and of a mandate from the ERC board itself".
In response, Premiership Rugby argued ERC's responsibility for negotiating broadcast agreements on behalf of the individual rugby unions only runs until 2014.
ERC and Sky were reminded of this in writing on July 27th, Premiership Rugby stated, adding ERC failed to present any specific broadcast deal at its June 6th board meeting or any subsequent summits.