Premiership strikes new BT deal

Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Premiership Rugby has confirmed its longest-ever television rights deal after completing a four-year contract extension with BT Sport.

The Aviva Premiership will be broadcast exclusively by BT until the end of the 2020-21 season, in a deal that will no doubt boost English clubs’ spending power.

The new BT deal is expected to help Premiership clubs in their ongoing battle to compete with cash-rich French sides in recruiting and retaining top talent.

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty hailed BT for helping increase TV audiences since gaining exclusive broadcast rights from Sky Sports 18 months ago.

“This is the longest TV agreement in the history of Premiership Rugby,” said McCafferty, confirming the extension with BT from 2017 to 2021.

“BT Sport has been a fantastic partner for English club rugby so we are delighted that we have been able to extend our relationship with them for a further four years.

“In the 18 months we have been on-air with them our live TV audiences have grown by 50 per cent so it is clear that the partnership is going from strength to strength.”

Premiership Rugby signed a £152million four-year deal with BT Sport in 2012, and it is understood the new contract will offer a significant increase on those terms.

“In almost two seasons of coverage broadcasting the Aviva Premiership BT Sport has set new standards for the live broadcast of rugby,” said McCafferty.

“Their innovative style has received great acclaim and we look forward to developing the partnership over the next six seasons.

“Aviva Premiership Rugby is in great health with a number of new commercial partners on board and it is testimony to the strength of the competition and our clubs that we have renewed more than two years before the current deal with BT Sport ends.

“We are enjoying a golden era for rugby in this country with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner and the game’s re-entry in the Olympics in the summer of 2016.

“This announcement is another indication of the current strength of English rugby.”

John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, expects BT Sport to continue to develop their Premiership Rugby coverage.

“We are absolutely delighted to be extending our partnership with Premiership Rugby, 2015 will be an amazing year for rugby in the UK and the popularity of rugby will continue to grow,” said Petter.

“We’re delighted to be a part of this and that our customers can look forward to another six seasons of the Aviva Premiership on BT Sport.”

Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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