UK pay-TV broadcaster TNT Sports has today (November 8) unveiled a multi-year deal covering England’s newly rebranded Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR).
The agreement means TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport), now holds rights to the top-tier men’s and women’s domestic rugby union competitions in England. It also covers the top European club rugby competitions.
During the upcoming 2023-24 PWR season – starting on November 18 – TNT Sports will broadcast one match per weekend from the nine-team league, as well as both semi-finals and the final in the post-season.
The deal was agreed between TNT Sports, owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, and the Women’s Sport Group – that body came on board as a competition partner in late June.
In total, over 20 games will be covered on both linear and digital platforms during the upcoming season.
Aside from live coverage, there will be highlights, match reports, and interviews available on TNT Sports’ and WBD’s various online and mobile platforms. This includes the Discovery+ streaming service.
The first game of the new deal sees Sale Sharks take on Bristol Bears on November 18.
Scott Young, WBD Europe’s senior vice president for content and production, has said: “We are delighted to be able to bring live coverage of arguably the best women’s domestic rugby competition in the world to TNT Sports viewers.
“There are many stories to be told across women’s rugby and we are delighted to partner with Premiership Women’s Rugby to tell these stories with a fresh approach that reflects the family-friendly, competitive nature of the competition.”
TNT Sports holds men’s Premiership Rugby rights through a deal BT Sport struck in 2020, which runs through 2023-24.
In terms of domestic coverage of the previous women’s rugby competition incarnation, it was provided by the BBC, with the public broadcaster showing one game per round last season on its iPlayer streaming platform, the BBC Sport app, and its website.
Belinda Moore, Premiership Women’s Rugby’s chief executive, added: “This is a pivotal moment in the history of women's club rugby in England, as we will see at least 21 Premiership Women's Rugby matches broadcast live on TNT Sports and Discovery+ this season.
“For the first time, this ground-breaking partnership with TNT Sports will allow us to create an appointment to view each weekend for our fans and clubs, fundamentally changing the profile of the league.
"We are ambitious to deliver significant growth in women's rugby in England as we head towards [hosting the] Women’s World Cup in 2025 and this partnership with TNT Sports will help us deliver that goal."
Launched in June, rebranded from Premier 15s, PWR was established to deliver a 10-year strategy for women’s rugby in England through a partnership between the Rugby Football Union and the 10 clubs participating in the Premiership Women’s Rugby competition and the Allianz Cup.
In early October, the competition partnered with global sports and entertainment agency IMG to drive its new digital and content channels strategy.