The emotions of an epic Lions Tour are waning. The players’ hangovers are subsiding. Manu Tuilagi has remarkably made it back to the UK without throwing himself off a boat into Sydney harbour…
600ft above London, at the top of the iconic BT Tower, England’s rugby elite are casually quaffing coffee and munching on bacon sandwiches.
“Why the BT Tower?” I hear you ask. Well, BT have paid a staggering £152million for their new dedicated sports channel, BT Sport, to have exclusive broadcasting rights to the Aviva Premiership for the next four years, meaning that for the first time in a long time all live Premiership Rugby fixtures will be on one channel.
BT Sport will be broadcasting 69 live games across the season with regular kick-off times: Friday evening at 7:45pm; Saturday afternoon at 3pm; and Sunday afternoon at 2pm, so you can pre-warn the missus of your weekend priorities. Friday night’s coverage will be anchored live from the grounds with games on Saturdays and Sundays broadcast live from a state of the art new studio at the former Olympic Park in Stratford.
It seems the presenting team, lead by ex England no.8 Lawrence Dallaglio, will be kept busy. Fear not though, BT have again spared no expense by bringing in a host of experienced broadcasters and ex-players.
Hosted by crooning, Irish double-glazing salesman Craig Doyle, live commentary will be provided by Nick Mullins and Alastair Eykyn (of former ESPN and BBC fame respectively), who will be joined by ex England internationals Dallaglio, Ben Kay, Matt Dawson and Austin Healey for expert analysis.
BT Sport will also broadcast a weekly magazine show, Rugby Tonight, on Wednesday nights, featuring a mix of rugby analysis, debate and entertainment. Rugby Tonight will be hosted by Matt Dawson, Craig Doyle, Hagrid – ahem, I mean Martin Bayfield – and an attractive little Welsh lady called Sarra Elgan.