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English Premiership Rugby matches will be shown live on terrestrial television for the first time in the competition’s history, as Premiership Rugby and Channel 5 unveil what they describe as a “landmark” four-year deal.
The agreement will see UK commercial public service broadcaster Channel 5 (owned by Viacom International Media Networks) broadcast five live games each season from 2017-18, as well as show a highlights programme every Sunday night, covering Premiership Rugby, Anglo-Welsh Cup and Premiership Rugby 7s.
The new contract has been agreed after a competitive bidding process, and will see Channel 5 simulcast five live games with BT Sport, who will continue to broadcast up to 80 live Premiership games per season. The deal with Premiership Rugby also sees Channel 5 secure the rights to broadcast a weekly highlights programme.
“This agreement with Channel 5 will supplement the brilliant, season-long coverage we have with BT Sport,” said Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive, 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.”