FROM next season fans in the Republic of Ireland will be able to watch every Champions League match free-of-charge via the LiveScore app after the company announced a three-year deal running from the 2021/22 season to the end of the 2023/24 campaign.
The score update website and app recently entered the broadcast rights market by streaming live matches from Serie A and the Eredivisie but now they have branched out to become the new broadcaster of Champions League matches in Ireland, taking over the mantle from Virgin Media who had been the primary rights holders since 2018.
From the start of next season all 137 matches in the Champions League – from group stages to the final – will be streamed live on the app. The news comes months after Virgin Media announced that they lost out on the rights to the Champions League for the next three years after an increase in price.
RTÉ retained their rights to first-pick of 16 Tuesday night matches as well as acquiring the rights to broadcast the final while they will also show highlights on a Tuesday night.
BT Sport also holds rights in Ireland and will continue to show all games for its Irish subscribers.
In a news release on Tuesday, LiveScore announced that they will show 104 matches on an exclusive basis in Ireland with 33, including the final, non-exclusively streamed.
That leaves the 16 Wednesday night matches still up for grabs but, as of yet, there has been no announcement as to which broadcaster will show those in Ireland.
When that news is announced it will mean Champions League coverage in Ireland will be shown across four different broadcasters – LiveScore, RTÉ, BT Sport and another company.
LiveScore viewers will be able to watch the matches on their mobile or tablet devices, with the further option to cast the action to their TV screens via the likes of Google Chromecast.
Last season, LiveScore streamed 306 Serie A games, 102 Primeira Liga (Portugal) matches and 142 games from the Dutch Eredivisie.
The news announced on Wednesday represents one of the biggest moves seen so far in the Irish market away from traditional television broadcasting towards streaming platforms.
In recent years Eleven Sports attempted to take its place in the football viewing market with exclusive rights to LaLiga.
However, with sign-ups to the streaming platform not reaching the numbers hoped for, the company dropped the rights at the end of the 2018/19 season.
However, the Champions League is regularly one of the most-watched sports competitions in Ireland and with LiveScore offering all matches for free, viewing numbers will likely be high.
Founded in 1998 and registered in Gibraltar, LiveScore has become one of the most popular apps for fans to keep up-to-date with scores from leagues around the world.
The company is part of a group which consists of the LiveScore platform as well as the online gambling services LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet – which launched in Gibraltar in 2019 – and all three sit within the Anzo Group of companies which is registered in Jersey and based in London.
The Anzo Group also has offices in Galway and was formed in 2019 after the demerger of the Gamesys Group in London.
LiveScore – 137 live matches (free to stream)
BT Sport – 137 live matches (available for paying customers only)
RTÉ Sport – 16 live Tuesday matches plus the final (free-to-air)
Yet to be announced – 16 live Wednesday matches