TV3 has outbid its main rival RTE and secured the Irish rights to exclusively broadcast the 2015 Rugby World Cup in a broadcasting coup.
t will broadcast all 48 of next year's matches live and, under the newly announced deal, there will also be highlights online. The tournament will take place in England and Wales from September 18 to October 31, 2015.
The commercial station admitted that the deal was "expensive" but would not be drawn on the exact figure.
"It's a very expensive one – but it's also on our doorstep with an Irish team that's as good as it could be," said Niall Cogley, director of broadcasting at TV3, when asked if the contract was worth the cost.
The news comes as a further blow for RTE, following the announcement last month that Sky had secured exclusive rights to some GAA games.
RTE's managing director Glen Killane said: "We are disappointed not to have the Rugby World Cup, but it just goes to show RTE has no God-given right to land every sports rights or competition.
"It's a very competitive environment; in this case it has gone to a domestic competitor. But we are facing far harder competition from international competitors with far deeper pockets, such as Sky."
TV3 said it had not ruled out sub-licences to other broadcasters for some coverage, which could include match highlights.
Mr Cogley said: "If other broadcasters feel strongly and want to get involved – either for highlights or other rights under licence – we'll have to see what comes our way."
TV3 is also looking at recruiting commentators from other channels for its coverage.
"Our intention will be to freshen things up, rather than to seek to poach," stated the director of broadcasting, when asked who would cover the matches.
"But there are some great rugby communicators who work for other channels at home and abroad and who may not be on duty at that time," added Mr Cogley.