Live coverage of The British & Irish Lions will return to free-to-air television for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Channel 4 has secured the rights to broadcast the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup against Japan on 26th June. The channel will also show highlights of all three Tests against South Africa.
This will be the first time the Lions have been on terrestrial television since the 1993 Tour of New Zealand. Streaming service All4 will show highlights of all Castle Lager Lions Series Tour matches.
Channel 4 has called the move a “coup” for the broadcaster, coming after its acquisition of live Cricket rights earlier this year.
British & Irish Lions Managing Director Ben Calveley said: “We are delighted that Channel 4 are our broadcast partners for our first match on home soil since 2005. I am looking forward to the excellent coverage and analysis that Channel 4 will no doubt provide and going on the recent squad announcement I’m sure the interest and numbers tuning in will be considerable for this clash.”
Channel 4’s Head of Sport Pete Andrews said: “It’s fantastic news for rugby fans who will relish the opportunity of seeing the British & Irish Lions in action on free-to-air television.”
Channel 4 will also be showing live coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup Final between La Rochelle and Toulouse on 22nd May. It will also screen live coverage of Ireland’s Autumn Internationals against the All Blacks, Argentina and an as yet unconfirmed other country.
[Channel 4 Press]