7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
A minimum of 17 live European Challenge Cup games will be broadcast by France Televisions, Sky Sports and Eurosport France, the latter becoming ERC's newest broadcast partner.
There will also be three matches in the opening four rounds played on Thursday nights.
The match that will launch the tournament will be televised by Sky Sports and France 4 when Sale Sharks meet Montpellier at Edgeley Park on Thursday, 8 December (19.45) while Eurosport France will show Auch against Bath Rugby in Pool 1 on the Saturday.
The televised group stage matches will provide a massive boost to the competition and further enhance its stature across Europe.
"This is fantastic news for everyone involved in European club rugby and especially for the players and fans of the 20 teams competing for the European Challenge Cup title," said ERC Chairman, Jean-Pierre Lux.
"The tournament has previously enjoyed televised matches at the knock-out stages but the profile of the European Challenge Cup will be considerably heightened right from the first day of the tournament in early November.
"The increased interest from broadcasters reflects the growing quality of European rugby action on offer in the tournament with players such as Carl Hayman, Luke McAllister, Butch James, Rico Gear, Jonny Wilkinson, Sebastian Chabal and many, many more set to compete for European club glory.
"The standard and intensity of the matches reaches new heights each season and I am sure we are in for another outstanding competition."