Johannesburg - The Cheetahs’ opening match in the ground-breaking PRO14 tournament, against Ulster in Belfast, will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 this weekend (Friday, 20:35 SA time).
This follows SuperSport’s acquisition of the broadcast rights this week, which include a range of matches in the re-designed tournament which now boasts participation by the Kings and Currie Cup champions the Cheetahs.
The Southern Kings' debut is against PRO14 champions, the Scarlets of Wales in Llanelli, on Saturday (SS1, 18:30 SA time).
"This is an exciting property that offers an entirely new flavour," said Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport.
"There's a particular intrigue in northern hemisphere rugby and to be part of this pioneering change presents an array of possibilities, both for the teams and indeed SuperSport. We look forward to watching the action unfold from this weekend."
SuperSport will produce select SA-based fixtures and take the overseas feed on other PRO14 matches that will be broadcast.
“We’re delighted SuperSport have reached agreement to acquire the rights to broadcast the PRO14,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“This is a fascinating and ground-breaking change for rugby and I am sure people will be keen to tune in and see how the hemispheres measure up against each other in club competition. SuperSport have given us a ring side seat and we’re already looking forward to Friday night’s inaugural broadcast.”
Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, also commented: “We’re delighted to have SuperSport join our stable of broadcasters in the PRO14. SuperSport are recognised as one of the world’s premier sports broadcasters and it is fantastic to have them involved in telling the story of our Championship.
"We’ve already seen how the addition of the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings has energised players, coaches and fans in the north and the south and we can’t wait to see that enthusiasm out on the pitch. Rugby fans have always wanted to see true north v south battles in club rugby and now they will get that.”
The PRO14 is an annual competition, one of the three major pro leagues in Europe, and involves sides from Ireland (four), Italy (two), Scotland (two), Wales (four) and South Africa (two).
The tournament begins this weekend and concludes with the final in Dublin on May 26, 2018.