The BT Sport team includes a host of familiar faces © Getty Images
Rugby News BT Sport to get fans closer to Aviva Premiership Rugby action
Aviva Premiership Rugby and its new broadcast partner BT Sport will break new ground this season with a series of on-screen innovations.
After a six-month consultation period that involved all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Directors of Rugby, Chief Executives and Media Managers, a new TV strategy has been agreed with the objective of bringing fans closer to the game.
“We can't wait to get started with our first live match on BT Sport - Newcastle Falcons v Bath Rugby - on September 6th," said Mark McCafferty, the Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby.
“We are trying to bring Aviva Premiership Rugby fans closer to the game and increase the number of people who watch club rugby in England.
“As a League we pride ourselves on being innovative and progressive and we believe the coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby will be compelling and supportive of the values of club rugby.
“There are some hugely engaging and articulate players, coaches and Directors of Rugby in Aviva Premiership Rugby - through some of these innovations we hope to bring club rugby union to a new audience while embracing our loyal supporters.
“Aviva Premiership Rugby on BT Sport is now available on TVs in around three million households, which is a magnificent start for a channel that only launched at the start of August. That number will continue to grow."
The innovations include:
* Dressing Room cameras
* A pre-match pitch walk which will see BT Sport reporters interview players during their warm-up
* Interviews with coaches during matches
* Half-time player and coach interviews
* The introduction of kicking tee camera and lineout cam giving viewers unique angles
In September 2012, Premiership Rugby and BT announced one of the biggest broadcast deals in the history of club rugby, signing a contract worth up to £152 million for a range of exclusive live rights over a four-year period.
BT Sport have assembled an unrivalled cast to present Aviva Premiership Rugby with former England captain and British and Irish Lions star Lawrence Dallaglio as BT Sport’s rugby expert. The live coverage will be presented by Craig Doyle and ex-England internationals Matt Dawson, Ben Kay and Austin Healey will be expert pundits. Sarra Elgan and ex-England star Martin Bayfield will be reporters.
“We will cover Aviva Premiership Rugby in a supportive way, " said Grant Best, senior channel executive producer, "We want to open up areas of the game previously unseen to our audiences we also want to attract a brand new audience and promote rugby union – our coverage will be innovative, entertaining, honest, professional and respectful with high editorial standards.”
Kick off times will remain largely constant throughout the season with a typical Aviva Premiership Rugby weekend having three live games – on Friday at 7.45pm, Saturday at 3.15pm and Sunday at 2pm. These times may change for a small number of clashes over the course of the season, particularly during the QBE Internationals and the RBS 6 Nations.
BT Sport will also screen a midweek rugby show, called Rugby Tonight from 8pm-10pm each Wednesday evening, and two live matches from the French Top 14 league each week.
BT Sport will not be the only place to watch Aviva Premiership Rugby this season after Premiership Rugby concluded a new four-year deal that guarantees rugby union highlights on ITV and ITV4 until the end of the 2016-17 season.
This season's ITV show will be hosted by Mark Durden-Smith and will also feature the hugely respected sports reporter Jill Douglas.