BT Sport will revolutionise the way Aviva Premiership rugby is broadcast with a series of ground-breaking new innovations to be unveiled for the forthcoming season, including the use of cameras in dressing rooms.
A new television strategy, with the objective of bringing fans closer to the game, was agreed after a six-month consultation period with all 12 Aviva Premiership directors of rugby, and viewers will now be able to see exactly what goes on behind the dressing room door.
BT Sport's innovations include:
Cameras in dressing rooms
Introduction of kicking tee camera and lineout cam
Pre-match pitch walk, featuring interviews with players
In-match interviews with directors of rugby
Half-time player interviews
On the field, viewers will also benefit from unique new angles to help them get nearer to the action than ever before, such as kicking tee and lineout cameras.
Each of BT Sport’s televised games will begin with a pre-match pitch walk that will involve reporters interviewing players during their warm-up, while reporters will also speak to coaches during matches and players at half-time.
“We will cover the Aviva Premiership in a supportive way,” said Grant Best, senior channel executive at BT Sport.
“We want to open up areas of the game previously unseen to our audiences and we also want to attract a brand new audience and promote rugby union.
“Our coverage will be innovative, entertaining, honest, professional and respectful – with high editorial standards.”
Kick-off times will remain largely constant throughout the new campaign with a typical weekend of action featuring three live games – on Friday at 7.45pm, Saturday at 3.15pm and Sunday at 2pm.
BT Sport will also screen a midweek rugby show – Rugby Tonight – from 8pm-10pm each Wednesday evening, plus two live matches from the French Top 14 every week.
Coverage of the Premiership will be led by former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio, BT Sport’s rugby expert, with ex-team-mates Matt Dawson, Ben Kay and Austin Healey joining him throughout the season as expert pundits.
The live games will be presented by Craig Doyle and former England international Martin Bayfield will be a matchday reporter, along with Sarra Elgan.
“We are trying to bring Aviva Premiership fans closer to the game and increase the number of people who watch club rugby in England,” said Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premiership Rugby.
“As a league we pride ourselves on being innovative and progressive and we believe the coverage of the Aviva Premiership will be compelling and supportive of the values of club rugby.
“There are some hugely engaging and articulate players, coaches and directors of rugby in the Aviva Premiership and through some of these innovations we hope to bring club rugby union to a new audience while embracing our loyal supporters.”
BT Sport's live Aviva Premiership coverage begins on Friday September 6 with Newcastle Falcons v Bath Rugby, kick-off 7.45pm