Premier Sports strikes deal with Virgin Media ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013 (From St Helens Star)
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Premier Sports strikes deal with Virgin Media ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013
12:14pm Friday 25th October 2013 in Sport
PREMIER Sports has reached an agreement with Virgin Media that will see RLWC2013 becoming available to the cable provider’s four million homes.
The announcement comes after the Parliamentary Rugby League Group intervened by writing to the chief executive of Virgin Media imploring the provider to grant the station a slot on its platform in time for the tournament.
The decision comes on the eve of the Rugby League World Cup opening ceremony at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Previously the station had been available to subscribers to Sky customers or via the station’s website.
The channel is showing all 28 games from the tournament live, though major matches are also on terrestrial BBC television.
Premier Sports executive producer, Neal Coupland, thanked the parliamentary group for its assistance, saying: “The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has been tremendous in its support for Premier Sports in drawing this saga to a close.
“As soon as we got in touch with them, they sprang into action and I have no doubt that their pressure, combined the support of rugby league fans who became aware of the issue, compelled Virgin Media to reconsider their position.”
The decision means Premier Sports is available on subscription to 14million homes, including the 10 million with Sky.
It is three years since the station began showing rugby league’s Championship and Championship One games. Games from Australia’s NRL are also screened.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Group, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, praised the decision: “This is tremendous news for rugby league and sports fans.
“RLWC2013 will be a fantastic spectacle and one that as many people as possible can celebrate.
“Virgin Media’s decision to show Premier Sports enables people to see rugby league played at the highest level and is absolutely right for the athletes, fans, sponsors and the sport generally.
“Well done to both sides in getting it done.”
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