Premier Sports to broadcast United Rugby Championship for four more years

All 151 games per season to be broadcast live in the UK and Republic of Ireland

Dougie Vipond, Chris Paterson and Jim Hamilton on Premier Sports duty. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Dougie Vipond, Chris Paterson and Jim Hamilton on Premier Sports duty. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

PREMIER SPORTS have extended their partnership with the United Rugby Championship (formerly the PRO14) for the next four years, with all 151 games played in the league each season to be broadcast in the UK, as well as in the Republic of Ireland for the first time, on its channels.

As part of its commitment to take coverage to “the next level”,  Premier Sports was vowed to introduce territory specific commentary teams for their live URC games, increase studio coverage and launch a new and improved Premier Player OTT service for UK customers.

The deal will include more than 100 games being shown exclusively on Premier Sports.


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“Premier Sports have been our biggest supporters in their first three years with us and they are as eager as we are to see the United Rugby Championship set new standards,” said Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship. “They have become disrupters in the rugby space having most recently picked up Top 14 rights and from our very first conversations in 2017 they challenged us to show every game live.

“Before Premier Sports broadcast our league fans never had the chance to watch every minute of their team’s campaign – since then Premier have broadcast over 1,000 hours of live rugby and created a new standard that will carry into the United Rugby Championship. Premier Sports want to raise the bar and their marquee names will stir debate to ensure every team’s story is told, they will extend their studio coverage and upgrade the Premier Player.

“We are incredibly excited that Premier Sports will continue to play a major role in the showcasing of our new tournament to rugby fans across the UK and Ireland within our family of broadcasters.”

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Richard Sweeney, CEO of Premier Sports, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured another four years of exclusive rights with the United Rugby Championship. Premier Sports will be the only place to watch all 21 game weekends per season from opening weekend to the Grand Final with every single game live on our channels. We’ll deliver all the tournament action across all five rugby nations plus host more than 100 live and exclusive games through the season.

“Aligned with the new opportunities that URC brings, we will be significantly investing in our new URC rights – 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 TV coverage where every game counts.”


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About David Barnes 3816 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

15 Comments

  1. I’ve been pretty happy with Premier Sports – great to have all games broadcast including catch-up service which wasn’t the case with the old BBC/ Sky split. Can get it on my TV using a Firestick and a web browser, but it’s a bit clunky and could really do with its own app. Get some Scottish football games with the subscription too.

    I suspect BBC Wales/ S4C can justify paying for rights because it’s their national sport. Would be hard for BBC Scotland to do the same though I appreciate that’s a vicious circle in terms of popularity and exposure.

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    • Not the national sport in Ireland, not even second biggest sport yet free to air coverage available. Irrelevant how obscure premier sports is or is not if you’re a kid in a house that does not have any subscription TV. If Scotland want to remain at Tier 1 level much longer they need to dramatically grow the number of kids entering the game outside of private schools – free to air tv is the only way the majority of Scotland’s children (outside of existing rugby households) will ever see rugby played.

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      • Free-to-air tv? Don’t you have to pay a tv license? Its cheaper to pay for prem sports for a year.

      • It’s not the remit of the BBC to grow the sport of rugby in Scotland though, and I wonder how much if anything they’re willing to pay for rights in the current financial climate. RTÉ has adverts I believe so there’s probably a commercial case for them bidding. Apart from the 1872 Cup games I’m not personally that bothered about the pro game being behind a paywall. If there was a decent regional/ district tournament in place of S6 that was available free to air I think that could create far more domestic public interest, particularly outwith the 2 big cities.

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  2. Why can the Scottish rugby union do a deal like the Welsh rugby union did with BBC Wales to cover the Welsh clubs.
    And BBC Scotland can cover the Scottish teams Edinburgh and Glasgow.
    Not everyone will subscribe to the premier sports channel.

  3. Excellent news, had no issues with it since the second game of the season. Your getting a bargain for all the URC and Top14 games compared to Sky and BT.

    Quality had improved a fair bit with commentators/camera-work the pst few months, not perfect yet but constantly improving.

    • Would still like to see a general uplift in quality and my personal preference would be a change inead Scottish host. I have enjoyed the French games. Do you mean they will be showing Top 14 fir season 21/22?

  4. Premier sports is terrible. Lack of cameras, poor production and the feeds they get aren’t the most reliable. Not worth their subscription in my view

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  5. 52 out of 60 matches involving Irish provinces to be broadcast free to air in Ireland. I believe BBC Wales and S4C also covering Welsh teams free to air. What’s happening in Scotland – no BBC Alba coverage?

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  6. When I can actually watch it, Premier Sports is OK, but no more than that. The problem is getting to watch it. The online player was terrible the last time I tried it and certainly not of a quality I’m willing to pay for. Maybe it’s improved and can now be cast onto a tv, but that wasn’t possible before. I appreciate whoever broadcasts it has to cough up the cash, but believe the game suffers from being hidden on a relatively obscure subscription channel.

    • it’s been castable since they launched….

      the “obscure subscription channel” line (which seems to be frequently brought out) might have been true when they first took on the Pro14, but they’ve been lead broadcaster for the league for 3 years, plus they’ve been doing football competitions in the UK, Europa league, NHL, and la Liga amongst others (before they brought in the Top 14 this year), so not exactly obscure anymore.

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      • Yup, its not perfect but it means its possible to watch all of both the scottish clubs games, which was not the case on Alba. Be nice if the 1872 cup games were free to air to grow the game though.

        As for an obscure channel, its now home the The French Top 14 and both the Serie A and La Liga. So its pretty mainstream these days.

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      • Premier are a fringe operator, dependent upon a catalogue of deals with 3rd parties in sport & broadcasting delivery, who like their predecessors live on a thin margin between viability and disaster.

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