Premier Sports has unveiled a star-studded team of top talent from across Scottish Rugby to lead its broadcasts in Scotland as it kicks off its coverage of Guinness PRO14 rugby union.
A team of eight of Scottish rugby’s most respected former stars and leading broadcasters, including Jim Hamilton, Rory Lawson, Doddie Weir, Chris Paterson and Al Kellock – who all have a total of 320 caps between them – will feature across Premier Sports’ live broadcasts throughout the season.
Leading the presenting team will be Dougie Vipond, who has been the host of BBC Scotland’s rugby output on TV and radio for over a decade, while Emma Dodds will be the channel’s main reporter. Match commentary will be led by Rory Hamilton, who currently leads BT Sport’s SPFL football commentary team but has previously worked on rugby for STV, Radio Scotland as well as sevens rugby for Sky Sports.
The Scotland on-air team completes the 19-strong line-up of Premier Sports TV talent this season, including Northern Ireland’s Andrew Trimble, Mark Robson and Graham Little with Wales’ Shane Williams, Sam Warburton, Martyn Williams, Eddie Butler, Ross Harries, Sean Holley, Wyn Gruffydd and Lauren Jenkins.
On joining Premier Sports’ PRO14 coverage in Scotland, Dougie Vipond said:
“I’m really excited and honoured to be part of the new Premier Sports team. The Guinness PRO14 is such a vibrant and competitive league which showcases some of the best rugby talent in the world.
“One of the highlights of my broadcasting career so far, was interviewing Warriors’ captain Al Kellock as he picked up the PRO12 trophy back in 2015. I look forward to sharing many more magic moments this season.”
The whole Premier Sports team will be working with Sunset+Vine, one of rugby’s most experienced and creative independent production companies with a track record that includes seven years of Aviva Premiership coverage with both ESPN and for the past four years with BT Sport.
Sunset+Vine’s three year deal will see them produce more than 200 hours of live rugby coverage for Premier Sports each season including the annual showpiece final at Celtic Park in May 2019.
Richard Webb, Chief Operating Officer of Premier Sports, said:
“We are absolutely delighted with the team we have leading our coverage in Scotland – we are broadcasting a Championship full of world-class players, with a team of TV talent that reflects that ambition and class of the Guinness PRO14.
“We’re delighted and excited to have secured 19 experts at the top of their game as our core team talking up one of the most exciting club rugby competitions in the world. Premier Sports will be broadcasting every game live which will mean more people have access to the whole picture of rugby across the Guinness PRO14 Championship and for just 65p per game – that’s more than ever before all under one roof with a mix of match action and news across Premier Sports 1 & 2 and FreeSports.”
Martin Anayi, Chief Executive of Guinness PRO14 Rugby, added:
“Ahead of an exciting opening weekend in the Guinness PRO14, I’m delighted to see Premier Sports complete their line-up with the announcement of their Scottish talent. Sunset+Vine have done a great job to assemble a line-up that is both familiar and full of pedigree. Dougie Vipond will bring great verve to the lead presenter’s role while the likes of Chris Paterson, Al Kellock, Rory Lawson and Jim Hamilton have great authority when it comes to analysing the action on the pitch.
“As lead commentator Rory Hamilton will bring plenty of energy and Emma Dodds is a terrific addition in the reporter’s role. Everyone at PRO14 Rugby could not be more excited for the season to kick-off on Premier Sports, they have delivered a terrific line-up across Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and we hope our supporters enjoy this unprecedented coverage that they will bring.”
Premier Sports signed a landmark three-year deal with PRO14 Rugby to show all 152 games live each season across the UK including Northern Ireland. The season kicks off on 31 August with all seven games live on Premier Sports and Free Sports on the opening weekend.
Premier Sports is available on Sky and Virgin platforms and online via the Premier Player, while Free Sports will be available across seven different platforms.
In addition to every match from the Guinness PRO14 being covered by Premier Sports and Free Sports throughout the season, Welsh-language broadcaster S4C will also cover selected live matches for free-to-air audiences in Wales and across the UK.
Premier Sports was founded in 2009 and operates three sports TV channels in the UK. Premier Sports 1 is on Sky channel 412 and Virgin channel 551. Premier Sports 2 is on Sky channel 435 and Virgin Channel 552.
FreeSports is available free on Sky Channel 422, Virgin Media Channel 553, on Channel 95 on Freeview and BT and on Freesat Channel 252.
Both Premier Sport channels are available on a subscription basis for £9.99 per month on Sky and on the Premier Sports player.
In addition to PRO14 rugby union, Premier Sports and FreeSports also hold ice hockey rights for the NHL, CHL, SHL, KHL weekly highlights and the IIHF World Championships. It is also the home of NASCAR Monster Energy Cup and GAA, along with football from Europe.