Talking point: Premiership Rugby BT broadcasting deal
Grassroots rugby writer Will Wood gives his view of the deal announced yesterday between BT and Premiership Rugby. Have your say as well using the story comment facility.
PREMIERSHIP Rugby have announced a whopping new £152 million deal with BT for exclusive broadcast rights of England’s top flight from 2013.
From 2014 the Heineken Cup will also be added in but what is clouded in confusion, however, is how exactly it will find its way into our televisions and at what price.
Coverage of the Premiership is currently split between Sky Sports and ESPN and the new era will incorporate the sport’s biggest prize, the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
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ESPN are fairly new in their coverage and have at least jolted Sky up the backside in recent years so how the new format will work remains to be seen.
Question marks appear over whether customers (or supporters) will have to pay extra every month or if they have to add to their current packages.
The next issue of course is how much our beloved clubs will see of that shiny £152 million purse and if it will help us entice those superstars to our home grounds.
Will the same old tired pundits be recycled around the TV merry-go-round once more or will fans finally get the sort of analysis they crave.
Also what effect will it have on the 50 odd local rugby clubs at grass roots level in the county who are already struggling to field sides every Saturday?
More details are, apparently, set to be confirmed, but why wave such a sparkly carrot in front of us, unless it is just to raise our intrigue and curiosity.
ESPN will have no Premier League football from next season either with coverage of the round ball game switching to BT as well.
Unfortunately, the most sceptic of sports fan in us cannot help but recall the ITV Digital or Setanta flash in the pans which caused so much damage.
As rugby has professionalised on the pitch since 1995 so have the improvements off it with regards to coverage.
But at the end of the day the best way to watch our beloved sport still remains from the side of the pitch or from the back of the stand, with a pint in your hand.