Premiership chiefs eye dedicated TV channel

Premiership chiefs eye dedicated TV channel when 2021 broadcast deal is up for renewal

  • Talks are ongoing about introducing a dedicated TV rugby channel next year
  • Premiership chiefs are eyeing it up for when 2021 broadcast deal runs out 
  • The league also in talks for BT Sport to televise all remaining games this season 

Premiership chiefs are in talks about creating a dedicated rugby channel when next year’s multi-million pound broadcast deal comes up for renewal.

The sport is desperate for a cash boost and clubs could move away from traditional kick-off times if it helps strengthen negotiations.

Sky Sports already have dedicated Formula One, Golf and Cricket channels and rugby could be next to follow suit.

Premiership Rugby chiefs are in talks over introducing a dedicated TV channel next year

Those in charge want to bring in a new channel once the current broadcast deal is finished

Broadcast rights are currently worth around £40million per season and Sale owner Simon Orange told the Mail on Sunday that the sport is ready to think outside the box.

‘During the lockdown, I think people have come to appreciate the value of watching sport,’ Orange told the Mail on Sunday. ‘A dedicated rugby channel has been considered and, if that went through, there would be more rugby content, which would be great for the sport and the fans.

‘Hopefully between Sky, BT, Amazon and OTT platforms we should be able to start increasing our income. Changing kick off times is possible. Saturday night kick offs? With a beer? Why not? It’s been mentioned and one or two of the TV companies are thinking about it. 

‘You’ve got dedicated cricket and F1 channels, so why should we not have one for rugby? It would be good for the sport and hopefully good for the TV company. We’ve got to be ready for change at times like this, because there’s no magic wand.’

Sale Sharks owner Simon Orange is one of several executives in favour of the move

Exeter Chiefs owner Tony Rowe has also supported the idea – claiming increasing broadcast powers will be central to the vision of investors CVC.

‘Within a couple of years, I think there will be a dedicated rugby TV channel,’ Rowe told the Mail on Sunday.

‘Most of us thought that’s what the eventual aim of the CVC plan would be. Like most sports, most of our revenue is derived from TV revenues. If it brings more money into the sport, then it’s a good idea. The sport doesn’t have enough money coming into it.’

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday understands that Premiership clubs have come to arrangement with BT Sport to make every single match available when the league restarts.

While only the showpiece games will be aired on TV, season ticket holders are expected to be given access to the remainder of their club’s matches through a unique login.

Talks are also under way for BT Sport to televise every Premiership match of the current season when it returns after the enforced suspension due to coronavirus

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