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Fox Soccer Plus Tackles Deal For Six Top European Rugby Competitions

Fox Soccer Plus has scored multimedia rights to a half-dozen top-flight European rugby competitions through the 2013-14 season.

The premium network, which flanks Fox Soccer Channel, reached an agreement with Pitch International encompassing three elite rugby competitions that it aired last season, and a trio of new events.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, covers over 365 live and exclusive hours of match coverage annually over the next four campaigns, including select action on broadband portal FOXSoccer.tv.

The Heineken Cup, Magners League and Aviva Premiership Rugby were featured on Fox Soccer Plus and the broadband portal during the 2009-10 season, while the channel will be presenting the Amlin Challenge Cup, J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s, and LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup on-air and online for the first time.

The Heineken Cup and Magners League were properties whose rights were previously held by the now defunct Setanta Sports U.S. that were transferred to Fox Soccer early in 2010. Fox Soccer Plus kicked off on March 1 of last year.

"The acquisition of these elite rugby rights for Fox Soccer Plus and FOXSoccer.tv underscore our commitment to providing the greatest value possible to rugby fans in the United States," said David Nathanson, general manager of Fox Soccer, in a statement. "Combined with soccer action from the world's best leagues and tournaments, these two services provide the ultimate multiplatform viewing experiences for international sports fans."

Under terms of the deal, Fox Soccer Plus secured seasonal rights to:

*At least 69 live matches from AVIVA Premiership Rugby, the leading rugby union competition for English clubs (September-May);

*Thirty-two or more live matches from the Heineken Cup, in which top clubs from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete for the title of European champion (October-May);

*A minimum of 13 live matches from the Amlin Challenge Cup, sister competition to the Heineken Cup, featuring teams from England, France Wales, Ireland Italy, Romania, Spain and Portugal (October-May);

*54 or more live matches from the Magners League, the annual competition involving regional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales (September-May);

*A total of 10 hours of live programming annually from the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s, in which a dozen English clubs are divided into three regional pools to engage in six, 16-minute games over the course of a single evening, feeding into a national finals round (July-August);
*A minimum of seven live matches per season from the LV Anglo-Welsh Cup, contested between 12 English Premiership clubs and four Welsh sides (November-March).