BT’s letter to Aviva Premiership fans

Following the announcement last week that BSKYB will no longer be the main live broadcaster and that the mantle has been passed to BT for a staggering cost of up to a £152m in a four-year deal, we like many of you had many questions to ask.

Sky RugbyThe ambiguities of the new deal and lack of clarity as to how you can actually watch BT coverage led to various rumours. These rumours turned into Chinese whispers and this vicious cycle would have continued had BT and Premiership Rugby not tried to put a stop to them. Hence, today they have released the statement below trying to iron out the key questions:

Dear Aviva Premiership Rugby supporters Premiership Rugby would like to reassure you that it will be very easy for you to access live coverage of the Aviva Premiership, and JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens from next season.

The exciting new deal with BT will make it more convenient than it has ever been to watch teams in action because all live coverage will be available through one broadcast partner – so fans will no longer need to subscribe to two different sports channels to catch all of the Premiership action.

BT want to make it clear that the BT Sports Channel will be available to as many homes as possible in the UK when it launches next year so availability will not be dependent on being a BT customer – fans will be able to subscribe to the new BT channel through a number of platforms, such as satellite, YouView/Freeview and potentially cable as well as BT Vision.

BT is also planning to strike deals with pubs and clubs so fans can expect further announcements in the coming months.

This may answer some of your questions, but has it answered all of them?

There is still the the most fundamental question of them all to answer, concerning the future coverage of European competition with the Heineken Cup.

Today is a big day for the ERC as they meet in Dublin to discuss the structure of the new shareholder agreement, and whether any changes will be made to the format of the competition.

Let us know your thoughts below.

4 thoughts on “BT’s letter to Aviva Premiership fans

  1. well, I think the coverage of the European competition, whatever it will be depends heavily on the roles of the RFU and the ERC in determining whether English clubs have the right to sell the agreements separately. I suspect they’ll find it’s a no judging by the rumblings coming out.

    The important question is still how much? While it’s very useful having all of my premiership rugby action in one place, I’m not just a rugby fan. I won’t have my cricket or F1 on the BT Vision channel. I’m also interested to know how many games they’ll show. Just because they’ve won an agreement to show 69 or however many games, I can’t help but be suspicious that they may well just show 1 a week as Sky Sports always did while football gets in the way

  2. So … next year the English rugby fan needs to buy Sky Sports for the HC and BT for the league. The year after just BT … unless he also likes other sports. Oh, and of course, if he is on cable he can only “potentially” watch it… but then there might not be a European cup to watch anyway … farcical. England take their ball away because the other boys are better than them and it’s NOT FAIR MUMMY!!

  3. No, English rugby supporters won’t have to worry about a European rugby tournament as once again we’ve managed to isolate ourselves out of europe. Even the French have gone “Non” to English money and stayed with the Celts. What is it with our arrogant bone headed sports administrators, that they can’t seem to negotiate as they always seem to resort to bullying tactics. Not just rugby by the way.

    1. Apologies for the cheap shot about England … I’m getting pretty annoyed by the current developments. My main issue is that England are trying to wrongly combine two issues. Issue 1 is their contention that ERC are not maximising the commercial potential of the HC. They have basically proved this is the case by getting a deal from BT for just the English HC matches that is bigger than the one ERC got from Sky for the whole thing. So this seems, commercially, ok to me. I still think it’s a bit suicidal (less people watching the rugby, ITV SPORT and SETANTA experience comes to mind…) but this seems to be something based on fact.

      But for some reason they’ve decided to lump in some strings with this money by demanding the Rabo teams change their qualification approach to the HC. This at a time when English sides are not doing well in it so it cannot help but look like a petulant attempt to improve English changes on the field by mucking about off it. As I have said on other threads, the whole argument is deeply flawed because it assumes the Rabo, English and French leagues are the same. They are not. The Rabo exists because us Celts do not have large enough populations or urban centers to sustain 10 or 12 team leagues ourselves, so we pool our resources. To then penalise our countries because we are not big enough is ludicrous and could lead to the end of the Rabo rather than lose each countries HC places. Further there is this idea that the HC is like the Champions League of footie and should be “the best of the best”. No it isn’t. It is just like the Six Nations which is also not the best of the best but rather the best of each country that is a member of it. So we get the best of Wal/Sco/Ita there (and not so long ago Ire) automatically, regardless of whether the best of Ita is better/worse than the 7th placed team in England. To try and change it would reduce the countries in the tournament and seriously threaten rugby in those countries with smaller fan bases. So leave us alone to run our league as we want. If England *believe* that their league is killing their HC chances (and it isn’t, but that is a different argument) then change the league (get rid of the 4 perennial money losing and rubbish teams you have for starters?), do not force us to change ours.

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