Sky Sports have signed the rights to the Top 14, France's premier rugby competition
Last Updated: 18/04/14 10:54am
Jonny Sexton: playing for Racing Metro in the Top 14
Sky Sports will offer customers even more top class rugby union from next season, after securing a five-year agreement to show France's Top 14 exclusively live.
From August 2014, Sky Sports viewers can enjoy over 55 live matches a season from French rugby's leading competition, featuring stars from 28 different nations including Jonny Sexton, Jamie Roberts, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Matt Giteau and Bryan Habana.
It will be the first time Sky Sports has shown Top 14 rugby, and the agreement means next season viewers can enjoy over 360 live rugby union matches plus 20 days of Sevens matches from around the world - more than ever before.
Sky Sports will show at least two live Top 14 matches and a highlights programme a week through to the Play-Offs and Final in June. The top six teams at the end of the regular season will qualify to join the following season's European Rugby Champions Cup which is also live on Sky Sports.
The deal is the latest in a series of long-term rights announcements by Sky Sports this year, including British & Irish Lions Tour 2017, PGA Tour Golf, IPL cricket, Scottish Football and Super League rugby.
Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis said: "This agreement brings even more top class rugby union to Sky Sports. Top 14 rugby features some of the best international players and best teams and this deal strengthens our unrivalled rugby schedule even further."
LNR President Paul Goze added: "We're pleased to announce this partnership with Sky and to secure such a strong partner on a long-term deal. Sky will provide an extensive coverage of the competition, and we expect to enlarge our UK fan base further in the next five seasons."
Canal Plus Sports Sales & Acquisitions Director Pierre Lelong added: "We're delighted to build this new partnership with such a renowned broadcaster in the world of sports, and rugby in particular. It's a great kick-off to our international sales process, and we set the bar very high for the markets up next."
Sky Sports offers its customers an unrivalled schedule of live rugby union including British & Irish Lions, Autumn Internationals from England, Ireland, France and Italy, European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, Pro 12 and Super Rugby.
The commentary and studio line up on Sky Sports boasts some of the biggest names in rugby union with eight members having played for or against the Lions and over 550 international caps between them.
Expert analysis is provided by Will Greenwood, Sean Fitzpatrick, Ieuan Evans, Scott Quinnell, Michael Lynagh, Scott Hastings, Dewi Morris and Paul Wallace. Coverage is presented by Alex Payne, James Gemmell and Rupert Cox with commentary from Stuart Barnes and Miles Harrison.
In addition to live TV coverage of at least two matches and a highlights programme a week, Sky Sports will bring news, interviews and results on Sky Sports News and skysports.com. Sky Sports viewers can watch Top 14 coverage on TV, online and on mobile and tablet devices via Sky Go or the Sky Sports for iPad app. Non-subscribers can watch all six Sky Sports channels on Now TV by purchasing a 24-hour day pass.