BT turns up the heat on Sky by snatching live TV rights for Premiership rugby
11:07 GMT, 12 September 2012
BT have stepped up their bid to rival
Sky as a heavyweight sports broadcaster by sealing a 152m deal to screen
Premiership rugby next season.
The British telecoms group has has
already secured the rights to Premier League football from 2013-14 at a
cost of 246 million per season in a bid to promote their internet TV service.
Switched on: BT will screen Aviva Premiership rugby next season
And now BT has snatched the broadcast rights for Premiership rugby from BSkyB to show up to 69 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches and the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens from the 2013-14 season.
It will also show matches played by Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs in European competitions from 2014-15 for three years.
Top clubs in England and France have served notice of their intention to quit the Heineken Cup and organise a rival competition as they believe the current format is weighted too heavily in favour of the Celtic nations.
Live Aviva Premiership matches are currently split between BSkyB and ESPN so the new deal means that from next season, rugby fans will be able to catch all of the excitement of the Aviva Premiership in one place with the bonus of additional live coverage from future European competitions from 2014.
'This is a game-changing agreement and will deliver a service that I know our club supporters will enjoy,' said Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, the umbrella organisation of the Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs.
'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.'
Marc Watson, BT Vision CEO added: '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.'