Channel 5 has secured a four-year deal to broadcast live Premiership Rugby matches from the 2017/18 season.
The agreement spans five live games each season, as well as a highlights programme every Sunday night, covering Premiership Rugby, Anglo-Welsh Cup and Premiership Rugby 7s.
The new contract will see Channel 5 simulcast five live games with BT Sport, which will continue to broadcast up to 80 live Premiership games per season.
“This new agreement will bring club rugby to a new audience to provide a fantastic shop window,” said Mark McCafferty, chief executive, Premiership Rugby.“It will give even more fans a taste of the excitement, incredible skills and unpredictability on show in Premiership Rugby every week.
“We have a very successful partnership with BT Sport that has seen our ratings grow by more than 40 per cent across the last four years. This new agreement with Channel 5 complements that partnership and will bring club rugby to a new audience to provide a fantastic shop window.”
Paul Dunthorne, COO, VIMN UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, added: “We’re delighted to build on our growing sports portfolio and give a terrestrial home to Premiership Rugby. This deal underlines our commitment to live sport following our coverage of the Big Bash League, with terrestrial TV viewers enjoying live cricket for the first time in over a decade.
“Premiership Rugby is one of the most exciting competitions in UK sport; we hope our national reach aligned with our commitment to the sport will enable Premiership Rugby to reach new audiences.”
McCafferty added: “The club game in England is booming with a nine per cent rise in attendances this season and a 44 per cent increase in audiences watching Premiership Rugby since the league started broadcasting on BT Sport. This is coupled with a huge growth in our TV audiences around the world – Premiership Rugby is now available in 200 countries, reaching more than 175 million households globally.
“The 2017-18 season will be the 21st in Premiership Rugby history so what a way to celebrate that milestone than to have both BT Sport and Channel 5 broadcasting the best and most competitive league in the world.”