Friday 13th is unlucky for some but as a subscriber to the full Sky package, it comes as rather excellent news that BT Sport is making this Friday’s top Aviva Premiership Rugby clash between Harlequins and Northampton Saints available on all major television platforms, regardless of subscription.
Both teams secured thrilling victories in the first round of matches last Saturday, Quins narrowly escaping victory at Twickenham thanks to new Wasps recruit Andy Goode hitting the upright with a a last-minute conversion and a sensational bonus point rout of Exeter by the Saints.
Viewers can expect to see a fiercely competitive match. Whilst they have home advantage at the Stoop, Quins will be looking to improve on a lacklustre 1st round performance that only saw them scrape past Wasps by one point, whereas the Saints put in an excellent performance built around a dynamic defense and clever attacking play from the likes of Ben Foden.
Harlequins and Saints have met each other 31 times, with Quins shading it so far with 16 wins to 14 with one match drawn. Only three points separated the teams when they last met in May earlier this year when Quins won 22 -19.
BT Sport is offering the live game at the Stoop between Quins and the Saints on BT TV, Sky, Virgin and Freeview from 7pm-10pm on Friday September 13. Those who have subscribed to BT Sport already will also be able to watch through their normal channels, as well as by logging into the BT Sport website or App.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those rugby fans who haven’t yet signed up to BT Sport to see just how good our coverage is. It’s also a chance for those new to rugby to sample the action and be converted to the game.
“We want to bring the excitement of club rugby to as big an audience as possible. We are the new home of club rugby with exclusively live Aviva Premiership Rugby games across the season.”
BT Sport’s rugby coverage will include several innovative and creative new elements in the presentation of live rugby, including interviews with players, directors of rugby and coaches during the game. The channel is also introducing dressing room cameras and new camera angles including a “Lineout Cam” which can be lifted above the touch judge giving a great view of the lineout and the ball, and “Kicking Cam” – this is a small remote camera which is placed behind the kicker giving a new low angle from directly behind the kick.
Green continued: “We’re very pleased with the coverage so far of the new Aviva Premiership Rugby season. We’ve begun trying out a few different ways to present the games and feedback has been very positive. We will only use these innovations where it makes editorial sense and enhances the coverage.”
Dominic Hayes, Commercial director at Premiership Rugby, said: “Premiership Rugby is delighted with this news from BT Sport. We take our responsibility to grow the game very seriously so to have this crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby match available on all these platforms is a big bonus. If the first weekend’s matches are a guide this is set to be a cracker, one that will be watched by an even bigger audience. Rugby people everywhere should applaud the decision, as it brings more people into contact with top-flight club rugby.”
BT Sport’s rugby team is established broadcaster Craig Doyle with former England captain and British and Irish Lions star Lawrence Dallaglio, joined by ex-England and Lions internationals Matt Dawson, Ben Kay and Austin Healey. Skilled broadcasters Nick Mullins and Alastair Ekyn are the commentators and Sarra Elgan and ex-England star Martin Bayfield are reporters.
As well as exclusively live rugby on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, BT Sport’s coverage includes a midweek rugby show – Rugby Tonight, which features debate, explanation and banter, in a light hearted manner presented by Craig Doyle, Martin Bayfield, Sarra Elgan and Matt Dawson, with Ben Kay and Austin Healey as regular guests.
BT Sport is showing 69 live games from the Aviva Premiership for four years from the start of the 2013/14 season. It is also showing the Premiership Rugby Sevens for four years, as well as two live matches a week from the French Top 14 league.