Premiership Rugby agrees lucrative deal with BT
Premiership Rugby has announced one of the biggest deals in the history of club rugby by signing a wide-ranging broadcast deal with BT worth UK£152 million (US$245 million) overall.
The agreement sees BT acquire the exclusive live broadcast rights to the Aviva Premiership and the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens for the next four years, beginning with the 2013/14 English rugby season.
Prior to the announcement the broadcast rights to the top-tier of English club rugby union had been split between UK broadcasters Sky and ESPN.
Additionally, according to an official statement on premiershiprugby.com, 'BT will also have exclusive live broadcast rights to matches played by Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs in any future European competitions from 2014-15 for three years.'
Although yet to be confirmed, it is believed that the potential European portion of the rights relates to the possibility of English clubs withdrawing from European Rugby Cup (ERC) competitions in 2014, when the current contract expires. Currently the ERC centrally markets its broadcast rights.
"This is a game-changing agreement and will deliver a service that I know our club supporters will enjoy," said Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty. "We are delighted to have concluded our discussions with such an ambitious partner that will help bring Premiership Rugby to new audiences.
"BT is a company at the cutting edge of technology and that is one of the reasons it makes them such an exciting broadcast partner for Premiership Rugby. We will develop a broad partnership. As well as showing the live games, BT will assist us in further upgrading the technical infrastructure of our clubs' stadia and by building community programmes with us," McCafferty added.
BT Vision chief executive Marc Watson said, "BT is delighted to have secured this deal. Rugby union is entering a thrilling phase with the World Cup being staged here in 2015 and rugby returning to the Olympics in 2016. We plan to bring the excitement of the very best matches to as wide an audience as possible. We will also be bringing all of the action together in one place and will look to distribute it on a variety of platforms. BT is serious about sport and this deal means we will be offering the very best rugby action alongside some of the most thrilling football matches from the Premier League. That is a winning combination and one that will appeal to fans of both sports."
An interview with Mark McCafferty will appear in the October edition of SportsPro. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.
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- Length of contract: 4 years
- Annualised value: US$61.25 million
- Overall value: US$245 million
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