Welsh rugby has welcomed the new landmark broadcast partnership signed between Pro14 Rugby and Premier Sports and Freesports, announced today.
Pro Rugby Wales chief executive Mark Davies and Welsh Rugby Union boss Martyn Phillips have joined together to hail the three year agreement which means all 152 Guinness PRO14 matches will be shown live in High Definition on Premier Sports HD – with 21 games (one per round) also live free-to-air on FreeSports across the UK.
“In the digital era, the pace of change in delivery of sports content to supporters across multiple platforms, is relentless and the Pro14 team has worked hard over a period of many months to reach a balance of subscription and free-to-air coverage over the next broadcast cycle,” said Davies, who represents the interests of the four professional rugby teams in Wales – Cardiff Blues, Dragons Rugby, Ospreys and Scarlets.
“With priority scheduling for Pro14 as the flagship product on Premier sports and every game in the competition broadcast live for the first time, our supporters throughout the UK will be able to watch or record every single game their Region plays on HD transmission, without restriction and with consistent kick off times.
“At the same time the significant increase in revenues achieved from a diligent, competitive tender process will be a major contribution to the Regions’ objectives of developing Welsh talent and retaining Welsh players in our professional game.
“Our four Regions are a vital part of an increasingly successful and growing competition, encompassing five great tier one Rugby Nations and with the strongest performance in European Rugby this season.
“Our new Broadcast partners have exciting plans to add real value for our supporters through new initiatives and high-quality coverage that will showcase the excitement of Pro14 rugby across every broadcast and digital platform and device.”
Domestic Welsh language free-to-air television broadcast rights are currently being negotiated with a further announcement on this subject, and radio broadcast rights, expected soon.
“Pro14 has been working hard to modernise its approach and to innovate in a market where rapid change is driving consumer choice,” added WRU chief executive Phillips.
“We welcome the move to Premier Sports, as not only will it be a new and fresh offer for Welsh supporters, it will importantly include free-to-air matches which is critical given the importance of rugby to the Welsh public.”