The IRFU today confirmed that the World Cup warm up match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on August 27th will not be broadcast live on terrestrial television. The game will now be broadcast live by Sky Sports with a highlights package been provided by RTE and BBC.
RTE admitted that they could only afford to show two of the four games that Ireland will compete in before they fly to New Zealand to play in the World Cup in September.This means that for the first time in generations that a home international will not be shown live on terrestrial television.
There was some initial confusion when the news broke as it had been suggested that a bidding war had broken out for the rights to the game with Sky offering more than either RTE or BBC. This was later cleared up when it was confirmed that England would only agree to play Ireland if Sky would have the broadcasting rights to the game.
Speaking today an IRFU spokesperson said “We wanted to secure a fourth (international) game in August and this was the request the RFU made,” an IRFU spokesman explained. “Sky Sports will be providing all the outside broadcasting facilities so the feed will be supplied to RTÉ and the BBC at no cost.”
RTE will however provide live coverage of Ireland’s warm up games home and away against France on August 13th and 20th respectively. They will also provide live coverage of all of Irelands pool games as well as the knockout stages of the competition.
The lack of coverage on RTE will now drive up demand for the English game. The IRFU has reduced the cost significantly for the visit of France and England, after the disaster of last November’s internationals, with premium seats available for €50 and the rest ranging from €20 to €40schoolboy/girl tickets are €10.