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26/09/2001

ITV SPORT ANNOUNCE TWO-YEAR RUGBY DEAL

ITV Sport have announced a new two-year deal to cover Europe's premier rugby union club competition - the Heineken Cup - on the recently launched ITV Sport Channel.
The ITV Sport Channel will carry live matches from the Pool stages, Quarter Final and Semi-Final rounds before carrying live coverage of the final itself next May.
Coverage begins on the weekend of September 29 – 30 with two matches - Newcastle v Newport and Wasps v Stade Francais - in the opening round of the Pool stages.
The acquisition follows the announcement last month of ITV's new deal with the IRB for their key properties including the Rugby World Cups of both 2003 and 2007 and the World Sevens Series.
ITV1 will also carry highlights of this season's England home matches in both the Six Nations Championship and their other pre-Christmas prestige Internationals.
Brian Barwick, ITV Controller of Sport, said "We are delighted to add another raft of top quality sport to the ITV Sport Channel. The Heineken Cup is a terrific competition and is building every year in terms of its prestige and importance in the Rugby Union calendar.”
ITV Sport Channel's coverage of the Heineken Cup will be shared with the existing coverage on BBC Television.
ISN and Granada Sport have won the contract to produce ITV Sport Channel's coverage of the Heineken European Cup.
Granada Sport has also won a major contract to produce a series of live British basketball matches and magazine programmes to be shown on the ITV Sport Channel.
The channel's basketball coverage will run from 27 September for all 40 weeks of the British Basketball League season, will include 21 live matches from 13 different venues across the UK. The live programmes will alternate weekly with the magazine programmes, which will look at the background to the game and go behind-the-scenes at matches. (CD)
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