A deal has been struck that will see every PRO14 fixture shown live on TV in high definition, PRO14 Rugby has announced.
Supporters of the 14 teams will be able to watch all 152 matches in HD for the first time, after a “landmark partnership” was agreed with Premier Sports and FreeSports, with te latter showing one game per round free-to-air.
As well as televising every match, a weekly magazine and highlights show will be included as part of the package.
Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer and Board Director of the PRO14, said he was “delighted” at the agreement, adding: “The production values of the live broadcast will be accompanied by studio settings and magazine shows, creating regular platform to tell more of the clubs’ stories from behind the scenes.
“It’s also fantastic financial news for the clubs and means we can invest further in Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby to ensure they continue to compete with the best teams in the league but also Europe.
“We think this is very good for the game in Scotland but also in presenting the league across the whole of the UK, where you can watch an outstanding product live, in HD, every single weekend.
“It’s a really pleasing day for the PRO14 moving forward, while I’d also like to recognise the great work that’s gone in from BBC Scotland and BBC ALBA, who have done so much to elevate and promote our sport to this point.”
Glasgow Warriors Managing Director Nathan Bombrys added: “It’s a really exciting opportunity for the competition.
“Our supporters will be able to follow the story of our season and the entire Championship in a way they haven’t had the opportunity to do before.
“We’re committed to Friday nights at Scotstoun, and with one broadcaster there should be less competition for the available slots, meaning we should end up with better and more consistent kick-off times.”
Premier Sports will show two live games on a Friday, on Premier Sports 1 and Premier Sports 2, with four live games being shown across the two channels on Saturdays.
Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, said: “The partnership with Premier Sports will be a watershed for the Guinness PRO14, our clubs and their supporters.
“As an innovative global rugby championship full of world-class players, we are always looking to raise our game and this relationship is a bold step for us.
“This will take coverage of the Guinness PRO14 to a new level and unlock the tournament’s vast potential.”
Anayi added that the bidding for broadcast rights demonstrated the level of interest in the competition since its expansion into South Africa and the inclusion of Cheetahs and Southern Kings.