British broadcaster Channel 5 has signed a four-year agreement with the Aviva Premiership, English rugby union’s top-tier club championship.
The free-to-air channel will show five live matches over the course of each season that will be simulcast on BT Sport, the league’s live rights holder in the UK. It will be the first time in the competition’s history on that live games will be shown on terrestrial television.
Channel 5 will also show a weekly highlights programme that will be broadcast at 8pm on Sunday evenings, taking over the role from rival broadcaster ITV.
According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, the four-year deal is worth over UK£1 million (US$1.3 million).
“This new agreement will bring club rugby to a new audience to provide a fantastic shop window,” said Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premiership Rugby.“It will give even more fans a taste of the excitement, incredible skills and unpredictability on show in Premiership Rugby every week.
“We have a very successful partnership with BT Sport that has seen our ratings grow by more than 40 per cent across the last four years. This new agreement with Channel 5 complements that partnership and will bring club rugby to a new audience to provide a fantastic shop window.”