Celtic Rugby have announced that for the first time ever Sky Sports will show live matches from the RaboDirect PRO12.
The agreement will commence at the start of the 2014/15 tournament and will last for 4 years. Sky Sports will broadcast 30 live matches per season as well as the Play-Offs and Final. This is likely to compliment, not replace, the deals already in place with regional broadcasters BBC ALBA, BBC Northern Ireland, RTE, TG4, BBC Wales and S4C – including the final and playoffs, which will be broadcast across all platforms.
John Feehan, Chief Executive said: “The RaboDirect PRO12 features the top teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy. Our competition is thriving with increased numbers going through turnstiles as well as increased TV audiences.
“The quality of our competition is such that 24 out of the 37 players selected for the 2013 Lions Tour to Australia play in the RaboDirect PRO 12.
“We believe that this agreement with Sky will allow us to bring our tournament to an even bigger television audience.
“This is a milestone for Celtic Rugby as it is our first ever Network coverage deal in the UK and Ireland.” It means that 125 of 135 games in the PRO12 season will now be broadcast live.
It is an interesting move from Sky, who, as has been well publicised, are losing the rights to the Aviva Premiership to BT Sport from next season. And it would appear that attendance and viewers of the PRO12 are on the rise, with 1.2 million spectators this season – an increase of 100,000 from last season. Viewing figures are also up by almost 25%.
Celtic Rugby are still in negotiations with other broadcasters and will be announcing further agreements in due course, but what do you make of the decision? Will this make the RaboDirect more or less accessible for you?