Future of Eir Sport in doubt after rights refusal


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Future of Eir Sport in doubt after rights refusal

March 19, 2021 13.00 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Eir Sport could be facing closure after it decided not to participate in the next round of sports rights auctions.

The move is likely to signal an end to the five-year old channel, although the telecommunications company has said it will continue broadcasting for the time being.

Eir Sport began broadcasting in 2016 having bought out the Irish interests of Setanta Sports and looking to emulate BT that had also used its own sports channel to drive subscriptions to its IPTV service.

In a statement first released to the Irish independent, Eir said it was now “exploring options” for the future.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on live sports across the world. Matches and competitions have been cancelled or postponed throughout the last year, disrupting the availability of live sports content.

“In addition, the almost complete closure of licensed premises here in Ireland has fundamentally changed the commercial model for subscription-based sports broadcasters. As we navigate these challenges, eir has made the decision not to partake in the latest rounds of sports rights auctions.

Eir currently has the rights to the domestic Guinness Pro14 rugby, that’s set to expire at the end of the season, as well as League of Ireland and National League GAA games.

Last August a dispute erupted between Virgin Media Sport and Eir Sport over payments under a reciprocal deal allowing subscribers to each of the platforms to view the other’s premium sports channels.