Premiership Rugby in historic China TV first
England’s Premiership Rugby is to become the first club rugby union tournament to be shown on national television in China, after a four-year rights deal was agreed with CCTV5+, the sports channel of the state broadcaster.
The contract, brokered by RDA, the UK-based sports media rights agency, begins on 24 December with the Leicester Tigers versus Saracens match.
CCTV5+ will broadcast at least 25 Avia Premiership matches per season, as well as the semi-finals and final, with Beijing Elite Rugby producing Mandarin commentary for live matches and the weekly highlights show.
Dominic Hayes, commercial director at Premiership Rugby, said: “This is a very significant day in the history of Premiership Rugby. Launching on free to air TV in China is part of our strategic goal of increasing the global impact of Premiership Rugby and helping to grow the game in new countries around the world. CCTV5+ reaches 400 million households and this will lead to a huge increase in rugby’s exposure, in a new and very exciting market.
“Today’s news is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and is further testament to RDA’s commitment to delivering unparalleled global distribution for our property.”
RDA chief executive Richard Dennis added: “Our mission is to bring transformational change to Premiership Rugby’s global broadcast footprint, and working with CCTV5+ is a key component of that mission.”
Previously, only the 2015 Rugby World Cup was shown in China on national TV.
International rights to Premiership Rugby are held by RDA TV and Altice, the French telecoms operator, in a five-year deal running to 2020-21.