Stars of TV: Fans will see and hear a lot more from the stars of the Premiership through BT this season

Stars of TV: Fans will see and hear a lot more from the stars of the Aviva Premiership through BT this season

Alan Dymock

AVIVA PREMIERSHIP and BT Sport have joined forces to come up with a series of on-screen innovations for their first season together.

Next week sees the start of BT Sport’s coverage of rugby after signing an unprecedented £152m-deal to show Premiership rugby and after a six-month consultation period with all 12 clubs and their officials they have come up with a new TV strategy.

Conspicuous: Bayfield will interview pitchside

Conspicuous: Bayfield will chat pitchside

The changes will see BT operating cameras in each team’s dressing room as well as a ‘kicking tee cam’ and ‘lineout cam’.

In terms of in-game interviews, BT will have what they are dubbing, a “pre-match pitch walk” during which BT Sport reporters (Sarra Elgan and Martin Bayfield) will interview players during their warm-up. There will be interviews with coaches during play as well as half-time talks with players and coaches.

Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, Mark McCafferty said of the innovations: “There are some hugely engaging and articulate players, coaches and Directors of Rugby in Aviva Premiership Rugby – through some of these innovations we hope to bring club rugby union to a new audience while embracing our loyal supporters.”

Beyond this, Premiership Rugby have also announced that confirming that every Premiership match in the 2013-14 season will be watched over by a Television Match Official (TMO). Previously, there were only TMOs at matches presented live on television, but now an official will be present at all 135 Premiership matches this season.

Helping hand: All referees will be supported by a TMO

Helping hand: All referees will be supported by a TMO

This season the Premiership TMO will be is part of a worldwide trial that will enable referees to: “consult with the TMO to review up to two phases (rucks or mauls) before the ball is grounded in the act of scoring” and to “call on the TMO to advise on incidents of possible foul play.”

Such changes will be visible during the first live match of the season with Newcastle Falcons hosting Bath on Friday, September 6. The match will be live on BT Sport.

What do you think of these changes? Are you a fan of the innovation and the increased TMO presence? Let us know on twitter: @Rugbyworldmag, or via our facebook page.