News last week was that the Principality Premiership TV deal would see the return of the Premiership to terrestrial TV screens for another year. This time across both S4C and BBC2. The screening see’s 21 fixtures on the provisional list plus extras throughout the season.
BBC to show Principality Premiership in HD from 2018-19 season
The Premiership has been screaming out for regular TV coverage for several years now and following their loss of the Guinness Pro14, the BBC have announced they’ll be showing the Premiership on both BBC2 and S4C.
The HD coverage will be a new addition following years without it on Scrum V. There will also be a highlights programme run on Sunday evenings.
TV coverage offers chance to redeem values
The Premiership has been dubbed by many as a league of low quality, shoddy rugby. Many fans only seeing the odd games to judge their opinions from. The new, regular schedule with games on twice weekly between the BBC and S4C will offer the league a chance to redeem it’s quality in-front of a larger audience.
The TV coverage will ensure that there will be added cash flow in placement for that taken away in a decision earlier in the summer. Sponsorship is likely to increase across all clubs as they get featured on national television, in some cases more than once.
There has been the issue of unbalanced TV appearances with Bargoed being the only side without a slot in the provisional fixtures. S4C has since announced that they will be adding more fixtures throughout the season to take their total to around 17. Bargoed will be hoping that a good cup run or play-off berth could see them get their 15, or rather 80 minutes of fame.
I’ve broken down each @PrincipalityPRM team to see how often they will get on TV* and how often at home.
*S4C’s figures are apparently only provisional and they’ll be having more fixtures throughout the season. pic.twitter.com/PlUQsroObP
— Robert Rees (@Rreesrugby) 6 August 2018
With the league cutting down to 12 for next season the added jeopardy will be sure to provide some excellent games for fans.
Viewing figures, the ultimate judgement
Will the games provide enough spectators on TV has been a major cause for concern. S4C have televised games in the past and only a handful of the games hit their top20 viewed for that time frame.
Games peaked around 30-35,000 viewers. The added influx of media surrounding the biggest season in Welsh club rugby for almost a decade as well as BBC HD coverage should see these figures rise.
Fans have aired their voice on the issue stating how games on TV have, at least in the past, lowered the attendance at the game.
Games on S4C have traditionally been aired on a Sunday afternoon. A poor time for public transport for those who commute further than a walk. Whilst they will retain their Sunday slot the BBC will add a new Friday evening kick-off.
Fans of those clubs involved will still manage to get to the game, but it gives other rugby fans the opportunity to get their week over before settling down for some rugby.
That is of course if they choose to watch the Premiership over the major Friday rival, the Pro14. Unlikely amongst pro rugby fans, but more feasible amongst the community game supporters.
Premiership can find it’s own identity
The club scene has been linked to the professional game for to long and too it’s detriment. The new split between them in terms of taking the pathway links apart and lowering cash input has taken away the pressure of developing talent, of which it had made a shoddy job of in recent years and allowed clubs to flourish.
Clubs can focus on being the community focal point with recognisable faces and a history of decades behind them. They have a different brand and style both on and off the pitch and the added TV coverage can help them find that and polish up the product.
The Premiership will never be the professional game and those who believe it should be are living a pipe dream. It can however, have it’s own quality, exciting brand of rugby with it’s own implications amongst the amateur/semi-professional level of rugby.
Free to air coverage opens up gateway to public
The lack of youthful supporters at Premiership games can be put down to the newer generations being brought up around regional rugby. The lack of advertisements to the public eye, whether it be articles, broadcasts or the clubs work in the local area are also lacking.
Clubs have started reaching out more in recent years, but find themselves lacking in the media. The FTA coverage offers a chance for everyone to see and get used to the product without the need to part with any cash.
This could help in getting new fans into the system. Something that is badly needed.
Ebbw Vale and Aberavon to kick-off new era
The new BBC coverage will begin at Eugene Cross Park with Ebbw Vale hosting Aberavon. The chance to have floodlit games back on the tele will begin the new era for Premiership rugby as it heads towards a 12 team league that is open to relegation and promotion whilst allowing clubs to find and pay out as much as they can afford.
No burden to produce players for the professional level or the financial implications that come with it and what better way to get into the new season than with a montage.
— BBC ScrumV (@BBCScrumV) 3 August 2018