Premier Sports to show all United Rugby Championship games live
Premier Sports has been announced as the TV broadcaster for the new United Rugby Championship which will replace the Guinness Pro14 from next season.
The subscription station will show every game live in the UK as part of a four-year deal.
The 16-team United Rugby Championship is made up of the 12 sides from last season’s Pro14, including Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, and South Africa’s leading four sides, Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions.
The new competition is scheduled to kick off on the weekend of September 24-25-26 with the first of 18 rounds of regular season fixtures. The leading eight clubs will contest the play-offs with the grand final scheduled for mid-June 2022. There will be a total of 151 matches.
Premier plans to beef up its coverage for the new tournament with more cameras, greater analysis and an improved online viewing platform which will allow subscribers to watch matches on the go via the app or website.
The channel’s roster of pundits includes former Scotland internationals John Barclay, Jim Hamilton and Chris Paterson, as well as Stephen Ferris, Andrew Trimble, Shane Williams and Tom Shanklin.
Richard Sweeney, CEO of Premier Sports, said: “Aligned with the new opportunities that URC brings, we will be investing significantly, with more extensive panel insight from studio, more cameras and broadening our mix of commentators from relevant territories for live games.
“We will also be launching a new and improved Premier Player in time for the new season. Premier Sports will once again showcase the most competitive and the compelling games and provide the most comprehensive live coverage of a tournament where every game counts.”
Premier Sports has taken an increasing share of the live Scottish sport TV market in recent years. In football, it broadcasts both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup and is now title sponsor of the latter.
The station has also expanded it rugby coverage and shows French TOP 14 matches.
“Our rugby weekends are going to be packed with world-class live rugby content now that we have the URC and the TOP 14 from France side-by-side - with games featuring the biggest names and most eye-catching players in world rugby,” added Sweeney.