Sunday 21 January 2018

UPC 'sorry' for failure to show crunch rugby game

Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll following his side's victory.
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll following his side's victory.
Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

UPC has apologised to rugby supporters left disappointed when they couldn't watch Leinster's crunch Heineken Cup match.

The digital provider, which has 400,000 television subscribers in Ireland, left sports fans disappointed on Sunday when they were left without coverage of Leinster's pool clash with Castres.

A spokeswoman for UPC said: "The Heineken Cup game was scheduled by Sky to broadcast via their Red Button functionality which UPC currently does not offer."

The mix-up meant that UPC subscribers who had paid for their Sky Sports package couldn't watch the game as they didn't have access to the Red Button.

The spokeswoman said: "We would like to reassure customers that we are endeavouring to find a solution in this regard."


The Red Button is an interactive platform showing several different live feeds.

UPC said it had "been informed that this was the first Leinster game of the season and the only one -- according to Sky -- that will be shown on the Red Button functionality".

It warned users of the glitch before the weekend, letting them know that extended highlights of the game would be shown on TG4 on Sunday evening.

The thrilling match saw Matt O'Connor's side come back from a 14-point deficit to beat the French by seven points, 29-22.

UPC contacted the Leinster Supporters Club to apologise and inform them of the situation in advance of the game.

Fans took to Twitter to express their outrage and disappointment at not being able to watch the game. Sky Sports packages cost a minimum of €34 a month and go up to €54 a month.

Interest in the Heineken Cup is set to big business for TV and the season's viewership is set to peak next weekend as quarter-final places are decided.

Three provinces -- Leinster, Munster and Ulster -- are well placed to claim home quarter finals. Leinster play the Ospreys on Friday in a game that will be shown on Sky Sports as a main match, meaning there will be no need for the 'red button'.

On Saturday evening, Ulster play Leicester Tigers who are just two points behind them in Pool five. Whichever side wins that game at Welford Road in England will secure a home quarter final.

Munster will hope that the Thomond roar will help them overcome Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon. Connacht are in action against Saracens on Saturday in their last group game.

Irish Independent

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