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BT Sport signs longest ever TV deal for Premiership Rugby

Monday, March 16th 2015 by Dean Reilly

BT Sport has confirmed that Aviva Premiership Rugby will be shown on the channel until at least the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

A four-year extension to the existing BT Sport contract makes it the longest ever TV deal in the history of Premiership Rugby.

Mark McCafferty, chief executive of Premiership Rugby, said: “BT Sport has been a fantastic partner for English club rugby so we are delighted that we have been able to extend our relationship with them for a further four years.

"This is the longest TV agreement in the history of Premiership Rugby.

“In the 18 months we have been on-air with them our live TV audiences have grown by 50% so it is clear that the partnership is going from strength to strength.”

Mr McCafferty added that BT Sport had “set new standards” in the broadcasting of live rugby over the last two seasons, and that he looked forward to working with the broadcaster in the future.

He said: “Aviva Premiership Rugby is in great health with a number of new commercial partners on board and it is testimony to the strength of the competition and our clubs that we have renewed more than two years before the current deal with BT Sport ends.

“We are enjoying a golden era for rugby in this country with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner and the game's re-entry in the Olympics in the summer of 2016. This announcement is another indication of the current strength of English rugby.”

'Amazing year for rugby'

BT Consumer chief executive John Petter said: “We are absolutely delighted to be extending our partnership with Premiership Rugby. 2015 will be an amazing year for rugby in the UK and the popularity of rugby will continue to grow.

"We’re delighted to be a part of this and that our customers can look forward to another six seasons of the Aviva Premiership on BT Sport.”

The agreement sees BT Sport securing the live broadcast rights for up to 80 live matches per season – up from the previous limit of 69 – starting from the 2017-18 competition.

In addition, BT Sport will has secured the rights to screen extended highlights for all 135 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches per season from 2015-16, as well as live broadcast rights to matches from the entire Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series until the end of the 2020-21 season.

Premiership Rugby and BT Sport also announced the development of a community rugby programme and continued plans to promote English club rugby.

Mr McCafferty added: "This partnership is about far more that what is seen on our TV screens. BT Sport is committed to Premiership Rugby and they will help us to grow the game in England."

Cable.co.uk asked BT how much the deal was worth but the company said it was "not publishing the amount". It has been reported that it is likely to far exceed the previous £152m fee agreed between BT Sport and Premiership Rugby in 2012.

The announcement follows news that BT Sport had secured the rights to 42 Premier League football matches in the most recent TV rights auction.

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