Premiership Rugby can confirm that the scene of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide the backdrop for the next live Aviva Premiership Rugby match on Channel 5.
At the end of December, Channel 5 made history by broadcasting the first Premiership Rugby League match on terrestrial television and they are now following up that huge success with four more fixtures, starting with the London derby between Saracens and Harlequins this Saturday (24 March) from the London (formerly Olympic) Stadium.
The match between Saracens and Harlequins is also being simulcast on BT Sport as part of a bumper weekend for BT Sport who will also show three other live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches from The Recreation Ground, St James' Park and Welford Road. The matches this weekend are just four of 69 Aviva Premiership Rugby games being shown live on BT Sport this season.
Following the trip to the London Stadium on Saturday the Channel 5 cameras move to Twickenham Stadium on 7 April where Bath Rugby are taking on Leicester Tigers in The Clash, which drew more than 60,000 fans to Rugby HQ last season in a remarkable show of the League’s strength.
Channel 5’s live Aviva Premiership Rugby roster ends with two of the biggest derbies in the calendar when Northampton Saints travel to Leicester Tigers on Saturday 14 April, followed a fortnight later with a trip to the west country to see Gloucester Rugby take on Bath Rugby. All four matches will be simulcast on BT Sport.
Caj Sohal, Head of Sport for Channel 5, said: “As the season heads to its dramatic close, we’re excited to be bringing fans four more games, all with huge implications for the League. These are all fixtures that matter and all absolute must-see games.”
Channel 5’s coverage will be presented by Mark Durden-Smith and former England prop David Flatman, with ‘Flats’ also supporting broadcaster Conor McNamara on commentary duties. Team GB hockey Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek and former Northampton and England International Paul Grayson complete Channel 5’s team.
Flatman said: “These are all massive, massive games, with so much at stake. I can’t wait to see how all the action unfolds.”
Channel 5 recently signed an agreement with Premiership Rugby to show five live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches per season for four seasons, as well as for a weekly highlights show, broadcasting Mondays at 7pm.
Channel 5’s coverage at the four matches will be produced by Sunset + Vine who has been producing live coverage of the Premiership since 2009. The company has transformed how live action is brought to the screens. From the first introduction of pitch walks to pre-game interviews with players warming up, innovation has been key. It’s relationship with the rugby authorities has led to the development of ref-cam and TMO decision-making.
The full line-up of live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches on Channel 5
Saracens v Harlequins – 24 March (London Stadium)
Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers – 7 April (Twickenham Stadium)
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints – 14 April (Welford Road)
Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby – 28 April (Kingsholm Stadium)
All four matches will be broadcast live on Channel 5 and BT Sport