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Pro 16 needs to pull the plug on Premier Sports

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Post by bsando Thu 11 Mar 2021, 6:20 pm

First topic message reminder :

Pro 16 needs to pull the plug on Premier Sports - Page 6 Error_10

If the Pro 16 wants to compete with the likes of the other top leagues in Europe and further abroad, they need to part ways with Premier Sports. The current Premier Sports contract with the Pro 14 finishes at the end of this season it still remains to be seen if this will be renewed or another broadcaster will takeover the rights.

Many fans have voiced their dislike of the online platform which after several seasons appears to be stable via Sky or Virgin sports packages but less so as an outright online viewing package. Coupled with annoying multiple login requirements to swap from devices and random lost connection error codes before, during and even when trying to watch on demand matches, it would be a real shame to see the new Pro 16 format begin in this manner.

Do you feel the upcoming Pro 16 competition would be a good addition to BT Sports or Sky Sports or even one of the streaming platforms like Amazon Prime?

Would it be better for a return to the domestic networks in a similar format as before?

Could CVC play a part in this decision with their recent investment in the Pro 14 league and 6N?

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sat 27 Mar 2021, 7:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
BamBam wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Why not? You wanted to make a point didn't you lf4l? Be brave and spell it out.
Ill spell it out no bother at all, in fact I'd be more than delighted to but let's face in this day in age I'll be banned for life on the forum for it, in order to appease the eternally offended.

Why? You'll only get a ban for breaking the site rules. As a regularly banned poster, I can confirm I've only ever been banned when breaking rules, and it hasn't been for life yet.

Which rule do you think you'll be breaking by saying what "woke nonsense" you don't like, and explaining what "woke" is?

Its the ' dont be a racist pr**k' one.
Yeah cause these multi billion dollar corporations care so much about us.

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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Mar 2021, 12:28 pm

Sky are pulling the plug on their attempts for the Pro16, PS will continue but more games will be on Free to air channels BBC and S4C.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun 28 Mar 2021, 12:41 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Sky are pulling the plug on their attempts for the Pro16, PS will continue but more games will be on Free to air channels BBC and S4C.
Why is that now? That must be a huge blow to the tv deal.

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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Mar 2021, 12:41 pm

https://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/latest-news/333909/sky-sports-pull-plug-on-pro16-deal/

I think this means BBC Wales and S4C will have the Welsh regional games, and the rest will be on PS.

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Post by The Oracle Sun 28 Mar 2021, 1:19 pm

Will the league dramatically resurrect itself from death in Wales now?! Like a Phoenix from the flames! Attendances through the roof - Dragons v Zebre the hottest ticket in town! Better book in advance OK

😉 Hug Run
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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Mar 2021, 1:22 pm

The Oracle wrote:Will the league dramatically resurrect itself from death in Wales now?! Like a Phoenix from the flames! Attendances through the roof - Dragons v Zebre the hottest ticket in town! Better book in advance OK

😉 Hug Run

I hope so. Yahoo

If the regions are back on free to air TV, more people will be watching them.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun 28 Mar 2021, 1:24 pm

LordDowlais wrote:https://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/latest-news/333909/sky-sports-pull-plug-on-pro16-deal/

I think this means BBC Wales and S4C will have the Welsh regional games, and the rest will be on PS.
RTE are bidding for the rights too

https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/pro14/rt%C3%A9-strong-contenders-to-take-over-as-primary-broadcaster-of-pro-14-rugby-1.4519173

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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Mar 2021, 1:27 pm

The Good news just keeps on coming. Yahoo

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun 28 Mar 2021, 1:37 pm

LordDowlais wrote:https://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/latest-news/333909/sky-sports-pull-plug-on-pro16-deal/

I think this means BBC Wales and S4C will have the Welsh regional games, and the rest will be on PS.
Can you copy and paste the full article please?

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Post by Pot Hale Sun 28 Mar 2021, 4:40 pm

With EirSport now out of the picture, RTE are joining forces with Premier Sport and TG4 to bid for the PRO16 rights with the inclusion of the SA teams now being seen as a positive development for promoting the sport. The deal will give rights to BBC to broadcast some matches in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as S4C.

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Post by The Oracle Sun 28 Mar 2021, 5:01 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Will the league dramatically resurrect itself from death in Wales now?! Like a Phoenix from the flames! Attendances through the roof - Dragons v Zebre the hottest ticket in town! Better book in advance OK

😉 Hug Run

I hope so. Yahoo

If the regions are back on free to air TV, more people will be watching them.

I was being sarcastic :eye roll: The league and ‘the game’ will be the same as it was before it went to Premier Sports. Possibly worse if the tv money is not as good. We’ll have to wait to see what the breakdown of any deal is I guess. But for all the doomsday scenarios painted previously (some by you LD) the game and the league absolutely did not die in Wales as predicted.
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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Mar 2021, 5:10 pm

The Oracle wrote:But for all the doomsday scenarios painted previously (some by you LD) the game and the league absolutely did not die in Wales as predicted.

Why do you always do this ? It's nonsense and you know it is.

The Pro14 is nowhere near where it was in Wales before it went onto PS. You live here, so you must see that, surely ?

If PS was continued to have the league we would be up the creek without a paddle. I could not be happier that the league will be accessible to to more people now, I really can't. If you cannot see the wood for the trees, then that's your problem, not mine.OK

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Post by The Oracle Sun 28 Mar 2021, 5:57 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:But for all the doomsday scenarios painted previously (some by you LD) the game and the league absolutely did not die in Wales as predicted.

Why do you always do this ? It's nonsense and you know it is.

The Pro14 is nowhere near where it was in Wales before it went onto PS. You live here, so you must see that, surely ?

If PS was continued to have the league we would be up the creek without a paddle. I could not be happier that the league will be accessible to to more people now, I really can't. If you cannot see the wood for the trees, then that's your problem, not mine.OK  

The league is exactly the same as before. None of the Welsh teams have dropped out. None have gone bankrupt due to dwindling support and attendance numbers. None of the regions are struggling to find players due to the lack of exposure and no youngsters taking up the game. I can only speak from the Dragons point of view but since going with Premier Sports our budget has increased and we’ve become far more competitive. That increased TV money has trickled down to the regions (as it should) and the Dragons player budget has now gone from around £3.5m to something like £5m I think. We’re now able to put out a team with 10 current internationals. Unheard of a few years back. More importantly, players are re-singing rather than getting their face in the shop window and leaving for a bigger team at the end of their contract. So the Dragons, as I see it, have improved since the move to pay TV. Crowds (pre-Covid) did not change. The only difference is that YOUR viewing experience has changed and so you think the whole league is about to go under.

Now, if BBC and S4C (same thing really) are able to table a bid that allows the regions to get the same or better money as now then that’s great. But it would be a massive turnaround given they were outbid last time. So can we say confidently that the teams’ TV income will be preserved going forward? If not then it’s possible this could be a negative for the regions and we’ll be in a situation like previously where we struggled to compete and lose our players to richer nations.
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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Mar 2021, 6:05 pm

The Oracle wrote:Now, if BBC and S4C (same thing really) are able to table a bid that allows the regions to get the same or better money as now then that’s great. But it would be a massive turnaround given they were outbid last time.

Please show me the evidence that BBC were outbid ?

The Oracle wrote:The league is exactly the same as before

Delusional.

You know, I know, and most of the Welsh public know. The league does not have the support it once did in Wales.

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Post by Pot Hale Sun 28 Mar 2021, 7:27 pm

BBC were outbid by dint that they withdrew from the last TV rights negotiation when they saw what Premier Sports were putting on the table.

This time round, RTE/Premier Sport/TG4 are putting together a bid and are proposing to have more FTA games on BBC for Scot/NI/Wales. BBC will split games with SC4.

The overall TV rights are greater than last time with the addition of 2 extra teams from SA and their putting £10m in the pot, up from £6m.

Support for PRO14 has been dying in Wales because a large part of the fanbase wants to have an Anglo-Welsh league and therefore, no matter what is put on the table, they won't support it.

In addition, they think the "wealthy" Irish teams makes the Championship uncompetitive and it will remain that way until either the Irish teams' budgets are cut or else the WRU give the Welsh teams more money.

In addition, some also think the "league" is run by the Irish for the Irish. They also think Irish refs cheat or are inept, and are always favouring the home team in Ireland.

All in all, it would be much better if the Welsh regions were playing in an Anglo-Welsh league with much better TV, refs, finances, and crowds.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 29 Mar 2021, 7:57 am

Pot Hale wrote:BBC were outbid by dint that they withdrew from the last TV rights negotiation when they saw what Premier Sports were putting on the table.

No.

The BBC made a significant offer for the Welsh regional games, but the league wanted to sell the whole package. I said then, and I will say now, PS will not offer the same a second time around as they will not get the subscribers they are expecting.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Mon 29 Mar 2021, 10:56 am

What is CVC's strategy for tv revenue? Who are their partners?

As part of the next tv deal, can they make a conscious effort to control and push out online content, timely game highlights, online media content. There are so many parts of this that are prehistoric at the moment.

Both UK and Ireland are running up a bill because of some kind of pandemic.  A bill that will need to be paid. Are the state broadcasters naive in bidding for sport with an eye on whats coming down the tracks? Or is this a cynical play by those in RTE/BBC to make multi-million euro/pound multi-year commitments that force the government to keep funding to secure their fat-cat over-paid jobs?  Those a$$hole$ would sign to broadcast bowls if they had the chance.

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Post by Brendan Mon 29 Mar 2021, 11:27 am

Is the league dying in Wales.  I would be fairly sure every up and coming player and their family are hoping their son plays for one of the Regions not one of the local teams.
I can't see young people having pictures of local players up on their wall but are all regional players.

Among a certain generation in certain areas I am sure interest in the Regions is dying.  Same in Ireland.  But among the younger generation the Regions are growing in support compared to the local clubs which is why the local clubs have seen a massive drop in fans while the Region reflects the success on the field.

When crowds come back expect Ospreys and Dragons to have higher attendances to reflect their improvement on the field.

If the league needs to be free in order for it not to die in Wales then maybe it should die.  Though the 30+k who attend games each season plus buy merchandise might disagree with you.

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 29 Mar 2021, 12:48 pm

A few journalists wrote that Premier outbid the BBC, so it is easy to see why people take that to be the case. I will provide one example here.

The National Media of Wales wrote:Q: What was the deciding factor that saw them win the rights over the BBC?

A: Not to put too fine a point on it, it seems to be money.

The BBC tendered a bid which covered BBC Wales, Northern Ireland and Alba, jointly with S4C, and they have gone on record as saying it was “a significantly increased financial bid”.

My understanding is their existing deal involved them paying around £4.5m a year.

So you can make your own guesses over what a significant increase would be.

Yet, nevertheless, it seems as though Premier Sports offered more and the PRO14 organisers have decided to go with them.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/full-story-behind-bbc-losing-14376276

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Post by Pot Hale Mon 29 Mar 2021, 2:49 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:BBC were outbid by dint that they withdrew from the last TV rights negotiation when they saw what Premier Sports were putting on the table.

No.

The BBC made a significant offer for the Welsh regional games, but the league wanted to sell the whole package. I said then, and I will say now, PS will not offer the same a second time around as they will not get the subscribers they are expecting.

It doesn't matter if BBC made significant offer for Welsh regional games. They couldn't/wouldn't bid for the whole comp against Premier Sports bid. That's what the shareholder unions wanted at the time - WRU, IRFU and SRU.

As I stated above, Premier Sports are putting in a bid along with RTE and TG4, and are agreeing with FTA rights to BBC to show some matches in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. BBC Wales will split with SC4 presumably. Which matches will be on FTA remains to be seen. It's what the overall package comes to in value is what matters ultimately.
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Post by Brendan Mon 29 Mar 2021, 7:12 pm

I can believe someone is trying to debate that Premier weren't the highest bid last time for the UK.

I guess I should put in a bid just for Munster games (€1000 should cover it) and tell everyone I was robbed because I bid on imaginary rights that weren't actually being put out to tender.  I will then say rugby is dying in the province because my bid wasn't accepted.

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Post by BamBam Mon 29 Mar 2021, 9:13 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
BamBam wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Why not? You wanted to make a point didn't you lf4l? Be brave and spell it out.
Ill spell it out no bother at all, in fact I'd be more than delighted to but let's face in this day in age I'll be banned for life on the forum for it, in order to appease the eternally offended.

Why? You'll only get a ban for breaking the site rules. As a regularly banned poster, I can confirm I've only ever been banned when breaking rules, and it hasn't been for life yet.

Which rule do you think you'll be breaking by saying what "woke nonsense" you don't like, and explaining what "woke" is?

Its the ' dont be a racist pr**k' one.
Yeah cause these multi billion dollar corporations care so much about us.

Oh mate, you do realise that the footballers decided that they wanted to take the knee, not Sky? Wilfried Zaha is one who has decided not to, and that is ok with all involved too.

I just don’t understand why visibly opposing racism for 5 seconds causes such strong reactions in so many (presumably white) people. You haven’t lived the experience of black people, if black players and their white team mates want to make a visible demonstration, why are so many noses bent out of shape? I’m of an Asian background, I can relate to some but not all of the issues but the least I can do is support the cause however I can

I’m not singling you out, you just engaged with the conversation. Others on here have just thrown in comments about kneeling when talking about England’s poor performances, as if it’s made a huge difference

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 30 Mar 2021, 9:41 am

Premier Sports doubled the money

From Walesonline

'The combined value of the new deal to the league, plus the separate deals in Ireland and South Africa, is understood to be around £30m. This represents a 100% increase in revenue in the past three years and will mean a financial boost for each of the Welsh regions.'

Anyone suggesting the BBC came close to that is dealing in fake news

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Post by y ddraig goch Sat 17 Apr 2021, 8:24 pm

Just posting the raw cost of subscription packages between Premier and Sky or BT misses the point. The other two offer vastly superior services.

The elephant in the room is the quality of coverage and value for money. Look what BT Sport did for Premiership Rugby when they took over from Sky. They created Rugby Tonight to put rugby front and centre of their coverage. Highlights from RT went on youtube and expanded the Premiership to a new audience in a modern format. The same applies to their match highlights which are also available on terrestrial television in midweek.

If you compare BT's coverage to what Premier Sports offer then it's not even a fair contest. The social media Pro14 highlights are edited by people who don't understand rugby. They're almost impossible to watch. The round up programmes are inferior to what was offered on terrestrial TV in Wales with Scrum V which is exactly the opposite of what should happen by going to a private broadcaster. And there is no obvious incentive to change this because the Pro14 doesn't command enough bargaining power for attracting telecommunications customers. Eir Sport and the Pro14 are happy with a situation where the Irish are catered to as the prime audience and the status quo remains.

From a Welsh perspective we backed the wrong horse 20 years ago and should have done everything to join up with England instead.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sat 17 Apr 2021, 9:18 pm

y ddraig goch wrote:Just posting the raw cost of subscription packages between Premier and Sky or BT misses the point. The other two offer vastly superior services.

The elephant in the room is the quality of coverage and value for money. Look what BT Sport did for Premiership Rugby when they took over from Sky. They created Rugby Tonight to put rugby front and centre of their coverage. Highlights from RT went on youtube and expanded the Premiership to a new audience in a modern format. The same applies to their match highlights which are also available on terrestrial television in midweek.

If you compare BT's coverage to what Premier Sports offer then it's not even a fair contest. The social media Pro14 highlights are edited by people who don't understand rugby. They're almost impossible to watch. The round up programmes are inferior to what was offered on terrestrial TV in Wales with Scrum V which is exactly the opposite of what should happen by going to a private broadcaster. And there is no obvious incentive to change this because the Pro14 doesn't command enough bargaining power for attracting telecommunications customers. Eir Sport and the Pro14 are happy with a situation where the Irish are catered to as the prime audience and the status quo remains.

From a Welsh perspective we backed the wrong horse 20 years ago and should have done everything to join up with England instead.
I'd say the English are probably thinking they dodged a huge bullet there tbh. They don't have to listen to welsh fans and journalists complain about the most minute things, instead of simply getting out there and supporting their teams. Some of the arguments thrown around are absolutely hilarious.


Last edited by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 18 Apr 2021, 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by y ddraig goch Sat 17 Apr 2021, 10:11 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:Just posting the raw cost of subscription packages between Premier and Sky or BT misses the point. The other two offer vastly superior services.

The elephant in the room is the quality of coverage and value for money. Look what BT Sport did for Premiership Rugby when they took over from Sky. They created Rugby Tonight to put rugby front and centre of their coverage. Highlights from RT went on youtube and expanded the Premiership to a new audience in a modern format. The same applies to their match highlights which are also available on terrestrial television in midweek.

If you compare BT's coverage to what Premier Sports offer then it's not even a fair contest. The social media Pro14 highlights are edited by people who don't understand rugby. They're almost impossible to watch. The round up programmes are inferior to what was offered on terrestrial TV in Wales with Scrum V which is exactly the opposite of what should happen by going to a private broadcaster. And there is no obvious incentive to change this because the Pro14 doesn't command enough bargaining power for attracting telecommunications customers. Eir Sport and the Pro14 are happy with a situation where the Irish are catered to as the prime audience and the status quo remains.

From a Welsh perspective we backed the wrong horse 20 years ago and should have done everything to join up with England instead.

I'd say the English are probably thinking they dodged a huge bullet there tbh. They don't have to listen to welsh fans and journalists complain about the most minute things, instead of simply getting out their and supporting their teams. Some of the arguments thrown around are absolutely hilarious.

Maybe. There's no reason for the English to feel bad about Wales that's for sure. English rugby still faces a major logistical headache with the Championship and ringfencing that would make bringing Welsh regions in to their league look like small fry. The point isn't about England though it is about self interest. Everyone has the right to pursue their own self interest. At the point the regions were introduced the Welsh could have offered five new teams to the RFU and Premiership full of Welsh internationals, large crowds, and cross-border rivalries. Instead, the WRU made the decision to join the Celtic Rugby project that in hindsight has proven to be costly to Welsh rugby and becomes more costly year on year. This is exemplified by the broadcasting deal which is primarily made for the benefit of the major partner of the Pro14/16: the Irish.

I don't blame the Irish for pursuing their self interest either. The fact that the Irish dominate the competition on and off the field in all manner of ways is a matter for them. The problem is the other parties that enable them as the Irish would not be able to sustain themselves like the French or English leagues. The WRU has gained the least from the arrangement out of the four unions/countries (Prior to South Africa joining. We have to wait and see how that goes) but expecting the situation to change, or for broadcast deals and coverage to become more pro-Welsh or less pro-Irish in 2021 is delusional. Welsh rugby doesn't have the bargaining power. The WRU made its bed and now Welsh rugby lies in it, including media coverage of regional rugby that would be substandard coming from university students.

In hindsight it was a poor decision by the WRU and there is no failsafe to fall back to like the Welsh Premiership, or the club game, or entering the English league system, because the regional project was designed to uproot the traditional rugby structures for the sake of a brand new modern professional competition. It was like a case study in Blairite modernisation that produced results in the short term (Grand Slam 2005) but over time the damage of uprooting traditional structures is felt over and over again. Becoming junior partners to the Irish was a terrible decision when we are right on the doorstep of the English Premiership, which has the potential to be the biggest domestic competition in world rugby. Wales has the right to pursue its self interest and not feel any sort of loyalty to the Irish and Pro rugby.

What arguments do you find hilarious?

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Post by y ddraig goch Sat 17 Apr 2021, 10:13 pm

Also am I right in thinking that RTE and TG4 are Irish state broadcasters? Someone mentioned earlier that they have bid for the rights to the competition. Is this correct? Irish state broadcasting has basically outbid the British state broadcaster through the backdoor (i.e. via Eir Sports and Premier Sports, reducing viewership in the UK to discincentivise the BBC or a UK-based private broadcaster like Sky competing with them) despite the fact that the BBC represents 6.5 teams in the competition and the ROI represents 3.5 teams?

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Post by Kingshu Sat 17 Apr 2021, 10:36 pm

I think a lot of that is very funny, not sure if you meant it to be though.

f the Welsh regions had joined the premiership in 2003, would Welsh fans have demanded neutral referee's? After all you would have had an English ref in most English v region games. Give it a few loses and the ref situation would be the same as in the Pro 14.

I imagine that Ospreys and scarlets would have picked up a few titles between them, but certainly Dragons and probably Blues would have been relegated and currently there would be two regions in the bottom half of the table, and a few Welsh fans would be giving out How the premiership is ruled by English teams, is set up to advantage them, how there are no neutral refs and never can be, how the English robbed the Welsh teams to enrich themselves and finally how they wish they had joined their celtic Cousins the Scots and Irish when they had the chance.

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Post by y ddraig goch Sat 17 Apr 2021, 11:49 pm

Kingshu wrote:I think a lot of that is very funny, not sure if you meant it to be though.

What like?

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Post by The Oracle Sun 18 Apr 2021, 6:33 am

I actually thought that was a good post from Draig. Not wumming or sensationalist. And then certain posters just laugh at it. Typical retort from Kingshu though. I expected nothing less, unfortunately.
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Post by Kingshu Sun 18 Apr 2021, 10:47 am

Don't know how you can saw typical retort, as I normally avoid these Welsh V Irish posts, I think only some bitter Welsh fans feel they have been the junior partners, everyone else can see how the boars is made up, and no union dominates it, Scottish fans never make that accusation, as such, it does make it amusing.
Also I know when a WUM is fishing, and while it has got a nibble from me I'm not going to bite.

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Post by Pot Hale Sun 18 Apr 2021, 10:48 am

y ddraig goch wrote:Also am I right in thinking that RTE and TG4 are Irish state broadcasters? Someone mentioned earlier that they have bid for the rights to the competition. Is this correct? Irish state broadcasting has basically outbid the British state broadcaster through the backdoor (i.e. via Eir Sports and Premier Sports, reducing viewership in the UK to discincentivise the BBC or a UK-based private broadcaster like Sky competing with them) despite the fact that the BBC represents 6.5 teams in the competition and the ROI represents 3.5 teams?

TG4 have broadcast Rugby Beo almost since the start of the Celtic League.   They stayed with it when RTE stepped out of bidding for PRO12 some years ago (2010-2014)  - they didn't have the funding at that point.   TG4 is a niche broadcaster with a fraction of the budget that SC4, let alone, BBC would have.   They have bid for the Irish rights for the competition - that is their broadcasting territory - in Ireland only, not Northern Ireland.   RTE is also stepping in to bid for the Irish rights because Eir Sport have announced that they are not going to be bidding for sports rights for the foreseeable future.   That's Ireland.

Premier Sports operates in the UK only - that is its licencsed territory and would compete against Sky/BT/BBC/ITV, etc for sports rights - its territory covers all of UK or its constituent regional markets.  

The BBC are bidding for some of the sports rights for the UK - specifically in Wales, Scotland and NI for some of the FTA matches.   Potentially, PS could bid for the primary rights and use the BBC as a production partner, or else use another company such as Sunset + Vine.   It could also come to an arrangement with RTE who would produce the games in Ireland and send feed to Premier for UK audience.  (In turn, RTE would use outside broadcasting companies such as OBServe to actually cover the games technically.).  

The decisions by PRO14 for broadcasting deals are made by a team within the executive comprising people from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa and Italy.    In reality, the populations and ultimately, price/value of rights are greater in Sco/Wal/NI than they are in Ireland - always have been.

For the record the make-up of PRO14 Rugby company reads something like this in terms of senior executive people:

Chair - Dominic McKay - who took over from Welsh chair, and is now heading to Celtic IIRC - Scotland
CEO - Martin Anayi - born in UK, and grew up/played in Wales IIRC - England
Tournament Director - David Jordan - Scotland
Commercial Director - Vacant
Finance Executive - Alba Sarrias - Italy
Press Sec, Italy - Federica GAGGIATO - Italy
High Performance Manager - Greg Garner - England
Head of Operations - Charl Crous - South Africa
Marketing Director - Tom Lister - England
Head of Marketing - Marc Fernadez - England
Head of Broadcast & Communications/PR - Adam Redmond - Ireland
Head of Insight - Rob Balmer - England
Events & Commercial Operations Manager - Laura Ruhan - England
Digital Channels Manager - Mathew Thoma - England

The Board of PRO14 Rugby has equal representation from all stakeholders involved - WRU/ProRugby Wales, SRU, IRFU, FIR, SARU with SRU currently in the chair.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun 18 Apr 2021, 2:25 pm

y ddraig goch wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
y ddraig goch wrote:Just posting the raw cost of subscription packages between Premier and Sky or BT misses the point. The other two offer vastly superior services.

The elephant in the room is the quality of coverage and value for money. Look what BT Sport did for Premiership Rugby when they took over from Sky. They created Rugby Tonight to put rugby front and centre of their coverage. Highlights from RT went on youtube and expanded the Premiership to a new audience in a modern format. The same applies to their match highlights which are also available on terrestrial television in midweek.

If you compare BT's coverage to what Premier Sports offer then it's not even a fair contest. The social media Pro14 highlights are edited by people who don't understand rugby. They're almost impossible to watch. The round up programmes are inferior to what was offered on terrestrial TV in Wales with Scrum V which is exactly the opposite of what should happen by going to a private broadcaster. And there is no obvious incentive to change this because the Pro14 doesn't command enough bargaining power for attracting telecommunications customers. Eir Sport and the Pro14 are happy with a situation where the Irish are catered to as the prime audience and the status quo remains.

From a Welsh perspective we backed the wrong horse 20 years ago and should have done everything to join up with England instead.

I'd say the English are probably thinking they dodged a huge bullet there tbh. They don't have to listen to welsh fans and journalists complain about the most minute things, instead of simply getting out their and supporting their teams. Some of the arguments thrown around are absolutely hilarious.

Maybe. There's no reason for the English to feel bad about Wales that's for sure. English rugby still faces a major logistical headache with the Championship and ringfencing that would make bringing Welsh regions in to their league look like small fry. The point isn't about England though it is about self interest. Everyone has the right to pursue their own self interest. At the point the regions were introduced the Welsh could have offered five new teams to the RFU and Premiership full of Welsh internationals, large crowds, and cross-border rivalries. Instead, the WRU made the decision to join the Celtic Rugby project that in hindsight has proven to be costly to Welsh rugby and becomes more costly year on year. This is exemplified by the broadcasting deal which is primarily made for the benefit of the major partner of the Pro14/16: the Irish.

I don't blame the Irish for pursuing their self interest either. The fact that the Irish dominate the competition on and off the field in all manner of ways is a matter for them. The problem is the other parties that enable them as the Irish would not be able to sustain themselves like the French or English leagues. The WRU has gained the least from the arrangement out of the four unions/countries (Prior to South Africa joining. We have to wait and see how that goes) but expecting the situation to change, or for broadcast deals and coverage to become more pro-Welsh or less pro-Irish in 2021 is delusional. Welsh rugby doesn't have the bargaining power. The WRU made its bed and now Welsh rugby lies in it, including media coverage of regional rugby that would be substandard coming from university students.

In hindsight it was a poor decision by the WRU and there is no failsafe to fall back to like the Welsh Premiership, or the club game, or entering the English league system, because the regional project was designed to uproot the traditional rugby structures for the sake of a brand new modern professional competition. It was like a case study in Blairite modernisation that produced results in the short term (Grand Slam 2005) but over time the damage of uprooting traditional structures is felt over and over again. Becoming junior partners to the Irish was a terrible decision when we are right on the doorstep of the English Premiership, which has the potential to be the biggest domestic competition in world rugby. Wales has the right to pursue its self interest and not feel any sort of loyalty to the Irish and Pro rugby.

What arguments do you find hilarious?
First of all before the Eir and premier deal welsh fans and journalists were complaining that the tv deal was too low. The league goes out and doubles the tv deal to 30 million a year and then complain that it's not on FTA tv. Imagine complaining about everything in the league, not supporting the regions and then having the gaul to demand higher tv deals. It's an absolute miracle that Martin Anyai was able to find a company willing to pay that much for tv coverage in a league with only 3 well supported teams (Leinster, Munster and Ulster).
Now we constantly hear how the provinces have 2 to 3 times the budget of the regions. Well of course they do, like do yous honestly expect Leinster to have the same budget as the Dragons, seriously?

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Post by The Oracle Sun 18 Apr 2021, 7:30 pm

You’re right, Leinsterfan. The issue is that we’ve been told constantly over the years that we all have roughly the same budgets. No-one is complaining that they should be equal. But it is nice when people acknowledge that they are different. The challenge is for the Welsh regions to find the means to increase their budgets so they can close the gap with the Irish provinces thumbsup
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 8:15 am

The sad thing is, and I am not blaming them, because perhaps they do not see it, but for any other country involved, and yes I include Scotland, because I have seen their forums as well, a lot of Irish fans do not see how the league is projected outside their bubble.

Things have never altered really for the Irish rugby fans. However further from the the truth it is, the Pro14 comes across as very Ireland-centric. Like I have said, it could not be more further from the truth than how it looks, but, it is how it looks.

What y ddraig goch has put on here is only what a lot of people around the UK are talking about. He is the only one who has had the stomach to put it on here though.


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Post by Brendan Mon 19 Apr 2021, 8:43 am

When it was on all the FTA in the UK, could people in England fine it easily enough or did they have to look for it.

Premier Sport is the one channel for the whole of the UK and for fans it is a one stop shop for all the UK teams.

We often overlook England for the league but there are probably many expats from Scotland, Wales and Ireland there who would watch the league but found it had to get the correct BBC.

Numbers of People in England (figures from the net)
Scotland 709k
Wales 600k
NI 295k
Ireland 380k
Italy 600k
SA 186k
Total 2.77m

The above figures only count those born in one of the Pro14 countries not people like K Marmion or H Watson who were born in England but very much feel apart of their heritage country who would happily watch Pro14 if shown on their Local BBC as oppose to finding BBC Wales (don't know how hard it is)

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 8:49 am

Brendan wrote:When it was on all the FTA in the UK, could people in England fine it easily enough or did they have to look for it.

Premier Sport is the one channel for the whole of the UK and for fans it is a one stop shop for all the UK teams.

We often overlook England for the league but there are probably many expats from Scotland, Wales and Ireland there who would watch the league but found it had to get the correct BBC.

Numbers of People in England (figures from the net)
Scotland 709k
Wales 600k
NI 295k
Ireland 380k
Italy 600k
SA 186k
Total 2.77m

The above figures only count those born in one of the Pro14 countries not people like K Marmion or H Watson who were born in England but very much feel apart of their heritage country who would happily watch Pro14 if shown on their Local BBC as oppose to finding BBC Wales (don't know how hard it is)

I'm sorry, but I cannot get the point of this post.

For us in Wales, it was on BBC2 Wales. The second channel down the list.

Are we saying 600K Welsh people in England did not know how to access BBC2 Wales ?

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Post by Brendan Mon 19 Apr 2021, 9:24 am

I don't know how BBC regionals work that is why I am asking.
If you watch Premier sports you see Pro14 being advertised.  If you watch BBC London or BBC Manchester you don't and you might not know what channel it's on.

I don't know why BBC didn't just put in a bid for it to be shown across every BBC 2.  That would have been a great deal.

Pro Rugby wants to be a big brand world wide not just in the host countries.  It's why CVC was brought on board to make it a bigger brand

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Post by Brendan Mon 19 Apr 2021, 9:36 am

Also it is interesting that RTE and Premier are getting together not rival bids of RTE and BBC v Virgin the Premier.  Says to me that BBC don't want the league as an important part of the schedule but rather filler to cover local content requirements in Wales.  It seems like the BBC are just trying to let everyone know they tried without actually putting in a bid that met the tender requirements.

Rugby hasn't been this popular in Scotland in years yet no mention of them doing a bid there.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 9:38 am

Brendan wrote:I don't know how BBC regionals work that is why I am asking.
If you watch Premier sports you see Pro14 being advertised.  If you watch BBC London or BBC Manchester you don't and you might not know what channel it's on.

I don't know why BBC didn't just put in a bid for it to be shown across every BBC 2.  That would have been a great deal.

Pro Rugby wants to be a big brand world wide not just in the host countries.  It's why CVC was brought on board to make it a bigger brand

It regional, so each region gets a budget, so it's up to the region how they spend it and what they spend it on.

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Post by Irish Londoner Mon 19 Apr 2021, 11:00 am

Brendan wrote:I don't know how BBC regionals work that is why I am asking.
If you watch Premier sports you see Pro14 being advertised.  If you watch BBC London or BBC Manchester you don't and you might not know what channel it's on.

I don't know why BBC didn't just put in a bid for it to be shown across every BBC 2.  That would have been a great deal.

Pro Rugby wants to be a big brand world wide not just in the host countries.  It's why CVC was brought on board to make it a bigger brand

The Wales FTA games are shown on S4C which is the Welsh Language channel - I think that there has to be some commitment to showing Welsh sport in Welsh but AFAIK it's not shown on "normal" BBC Wales. I think the PRO16 are missing a trick by not giving a terrestrial broadcaster highlights package rights in the same way that the Premiership do with Channel 5.

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Post by Pot Hale Mon 19 Apr 2021, 11:38 am

LordDowlais wrote:The sad thing is, and I am not blaming them, because perhaps they do not see it, but for any other country involved, and yes I include Scotland, because I have seen their forums as well, a lot of Irish fans do not see how the league is projected outside their bubble.

Things have never altered really for the Irish rugby fans. However further from the the truth it is, the Pro14 comes across as very Ireland-centric. Like I have said, it could not be more further from the truth than how it looks, but, it is how it looks.

What y ddraig goch has put on here is only what a lot of people around the UK are talking about. He is the only one who has had the stomach to put it on here though.


As an Irish fan, I do see how the PRO14 is projected outside of Ireland.   Welsh fans in particular think it is Ireland centric and the quote "a league run by the Irish for the Irish" is a fair enough summary of how those fans think about it.   Other Welsh fans and Scottish fans have different viewpoints - some of it around the budgets of the Irish provinces compared to their own teams - Leinster is always used as the example to represent the wealth of the four provinces, whilst ignoring the smaller budgets of Connacht and Ulster.  

Leaving that aside, as playing budgets are not restricted by the PRO14, what are the reasons that fans think the league is run by the Irish for Irish?   And do they have any merit?

Specifically, is the PRO14 run by the Irish?   Its office is based in Sandyford in Dublin, but key senior people in the organisation - CEO and Chair - come from England and Scotland.  The majority of senior staff don't come from Ireland.  The board of PRO14 has equal shareholder representation from all four unions.  The IRFU are in a minority on the board.

Is the PRO14 run for the Irish?    Again, one would need specifics to determine why this claim is made?   Is it related to location of PRO12/PRO14 finals?  Is it to do with the awarding of the most recent TV contract to an Irish-headquartered company compared to UK/British companies before that?  Is it to do with Ulster getting their games held on a Friday evening?  Is it to do with Irish refs being apparently incompetent and always favouring their home teams, overseen by Greg Garner an Englishman?   Is it to do with Irish provinces resting their top players and not respecting the league by putting out "second-string" teams and sometimes winning matches anyway?
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 11:44 am

Pot Hale wrote:Is the PRO14 run for the Irish? Again, one would need specifics to determine why this claim is made? Is it related to location of PRO12/PRO14 finals? Is it to do with the awarding of the most recent TV contract to an Irish-headquartered company compared to UK/British companies before that? Is it to do with Ulster getting their games held on a Friday evening? Is it to do with Irish refs being apparently incompetent and always favouring their home teams, overseen by Greg Garner an Englishman? Is it to do with Irish provinces resting their top players and not respecting the league by putting out "second-string" teams and sometimes winning matches anyway?

Could be.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 19 Apr 2021, 11:47 am

LordDowlais wrote:The sad thing is, and I am not blaming them, because perhaps they do not see it, but for any other country involved, and yes I include Scotland, because I have seen their forums as well, a lot of Irish fans do not see how the league is projected outside their bubble.

Things have never altered really for the Irish rugby fans. However further from the the truth it is, the Pro14 comes across as very Ireland-centric. Like I have said, it could not be more further from the truth than how it looks, but, it is how it looks.

What y ddraig goch has put on here is only what a lot of people around the UK are talking about. He is the only one who has had the stomach to put it on here though.

Why wouldn't it? The provinces are the only reason why the league is where it is today. Or do you believe that a bunch of teams averaging less than 8k a game could command a tv deal worth 30 million euro?

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Post by Brendan Mon 19 Apr 2021, 12:01 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:
Brendan wrote:I don't know how BBC regionals work that is why I am asking.
If you watch Premier sports you see Pro14 being advertised.  If you watch BBC London or BBC Manchester you don't and you might not know what channel it's on.

I don't know why BBC didn't just put in a bid for it to be shown across every BBC 2.  That would have been a great deal.

Pro Rugby wants to be a big brand world wide not just in the host countries.  It's why CVC was brought on board to make it a bigger brand

The Wales FTA games are shown on S4C which is the Welsh Language channel - I think that there has to be some commitment to showing Welsh sport in Welsh but AFAIK it's not shown on "normal" BBC Wales. I think the PRO16 are missing a trick by not giving a terrestrial broadcaster highlights package rights in the same way that the Premiership do with Channel 5.

I agree about the highlights package and maybe this would suit BBC better for what they are looking for.

If the Welsh regions were in the Premership they would have the exact same deal (I would assume) as currently held by the premership and BBC Wales would still have none on nor would they win just the Wales rights.

According to Wikipedia (So May not be correct) channel 5 shows 5 matches per season and highlights of the rest.  Pro14 on the other hand shows 17 live games on S4C and BBC show highlights (I don't know if they do).  So currently the pro14 are giving 3 times as many free games in the UK compared to the Premership. Plus see the point on Freesports below.

Freesport show 55 T14 games, Mitre10, Currie Cup, Women Prem.  Maybe the league should get its free games on there as clearly there is already plenty of Rugby on it and plenty fans.  Which according to the net already shows 21 Pro14 games a season so it's not like the league isn't trying to reach out to existing rugby people.

LDs argument is always disrespectful to the Welsh public as it implies that they only know how to watch BBC Wales and nothing else (Maybe S4C). Freesport covers 18-22m homes in the UK so plenty can watch it and the T14 seem happy to use them. He also says Priemer is to expensive when it has been the cheapest option if you just want the league.  There are plenty of football fans in Wales that can work out how to watch soccer so don't see what his issue is.


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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 12:06 pm

Brendan wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:
Brendan wrote:I don't know how BBC regionals work that is why I am asking.
If you watch Premier sports you see Pro14 being advertised.  If you watch BBC London or BBC Manchester you don't and you might not know what channel it's on.

I don't know why BBC didn't just put in a bid for it to be shown across every BBC 2.  That would have been a great deal.

Pro Rugby wants to be a big brand world wide not just in the host countries.  It's why CVC was brought on board to make it a bigger brand

The Wales FTA games are shown on S4C which is the Welsh Language channel - I think that there has to be some commitment to showing Welsh sport in Welsh but AFAIK it's not shown on "normal" BBC Wales. I think the PRO16 are missing a trick by not giving a terrestrial broadcaster highlights package rights in the same way that the Premiership do with Channel 5.

I agree about the highlights package and maybe this would suit BBC better for what they are looking for.

If the Welsh regions where in the Premership they would have the exact same deal (I would assume) as currently held by the premership and BBC Wales would still have none on nor would they win just the Wales rights.

According to Wikipedia (So May not be correct) channel 5 shows 5 matches per season and highlights of the rest.  Pro14 on the other hand shows 17 live games on S4C and BBC show highlights (I don't know if they do).  So currently the pro14 are giving 3 times as many free games in the UK compared to the Premership. Plus see the point on Freesports below.

Freesport show 55 T14 games, Mitre10, Currie Cup, Women Prem.  Maybe the league should get its free games on there as clearly there is already plenty of Rugby on it and plenty fans.  Which according to the net already shows 21 Pro14 games a season so it's not like the league isn't trying to reach out to existing rugby people.

LDs argument is always disrespectful to the Welsh public as it implies that they only know how to watch BBC Wales and nothing else (Maybe S4C). Freesport covers 18-22m homes in the UK so plenty can watch it and the T14 seem happy to use them. He also says Priemer is to expensive when it has been the cheapest option if you just want the league.  There are plenty of football fans in Wales that can work out how to watch soccer so don't see what his issue is.

Sorry brendan, I still cannot see your point.

If you are saying that 600K people in England cannot find BBC Wales, then how do you expect them to find freesports ?

Also, please refrain from calling me disrespectful. OK

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Post by Brendan Mon 19 Apr 2021, 12:18 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:
Brendan wrote:I don't know how BBC regionals work that is why I am asking.
If you watch Premier sports you see Pro14 being advertised.  If you watch BBC London or BBC Manchester you don't and you might not know what channel it's on.

I don't know why BBC didn't just put in a bid for it to be shown across every BBC 2.  That would have been a great deal.

Pro Rugby wants to be a big brand world wide not just in the host countries.  It's why CVC was brought on board to make it a bigger brand

The Wales FTA games are shown on S4C which is the Welsh Language channel - I think that there has to be some commitment to showing Welsh sport in Welsh but AFAIK it's not shown on "normal" BBC Wales. I think the PRO16 are missing a trick by not giving a terrestrial broadcaster highlights package rights in the same way that the Premiership do with Channel 5.

I agree about the highlights package and maybe this would suit BBC better for what they are looking for.

If the Welsh regions where in the Premership they would have the exact same deal (I would assume) as currently held by the premership and BBC Wales would still have none on nor would they win just the Wales rights.

According to Wikipedia (So May not be correct) channel 5 shows 5 matches per season and highlights of the rest.  Pro14 on the other hand shows 17 live games on S4C and BBC show highlights (I don't know if they do).  So currently the pro14 are giving 3 times as many free games in the UK compared to the Premership. Plus see the point on Freesports below.

Freesport show 55 T14 games, Mitre10, Currie Cup, Women Prem.  Maybe the league should get its free games on there as clearly there is already plenty of Rugby on it and plenty fans.  Which according to the net already shows 21 Pro14 games a season so it's not like the league isn't trying to reach out to existing rugby people.

LDs argument is always disrespectful to the Welsh public as it implies that they only know how to watch BBC Wales and nothing else (Maybe S4C). Freesport covers 18-22m homes in the UK so plenty can watch it and the T14 seem happy to use them. He also says Priemer is to expensive when it has been the cheapest option if you just want the league.  There are plenty of football fans in Wales that can work out how to watch soccer so don't see what his issue is.

Sorry brendan, I still cannot see your point.

If you are saying that 600K people in England cannot find BBC Wales, then how do you expect them to find freesports ?

Also, please refrain from calling me disrespectful. OK

Please read what I actually said.
The Pro14 show 4 times as many free games as the premiership (21v5), which is assuming S4C only show the same games as Freesport. I don't know if people in the UK can watch TG4 for more games.

I am pointing out that if we want to grow the brand is it better to have free games on BBC Wales that doesn't seem to have much else non internationals or Freesport that has a load of other rugby that people are watching.

You imply that unless it is on BBC Wales then Welsh people won't know about it.  People can check your comments to see if what I am saying is wrong.

If I am wrong please state why it is so important that BBC Wales get the rights to the league rather then the current setup.

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Post by The Oracle Mon 19 Apr 2021, 12:21 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:The sad thing is, and I am not blaming them, because perhaps they do not see it, but for any other country involved, and yes I include Scotland, because I have seen their forums as well, a lot of Irish fans do not see how the league is projected outside their bubble.

Things have never altered really for the Irish rugby fans. However further from the the truth it is, the Pro14 comes across as very Ireland-centric. Like I have said, it could not be more further from the truth than how it looks, but, it is how it looks.

What y ddraig goch has put on here is only what a lot of people around the UK are talking about. He is the only one who has had the stomach to put it on here though.


As an Irish fan, I do see how the PRO14 is projected outside of Ireland.   Welsh fans in particular think it is Ireland centric and the quote "a league run by the Irish for the Irish" is a fair enough summary of how those fans think about it.   Other Welsh fans and Scottish fans have different viewpoints - some of it around the budgets of the Irish provinces compared to their own teams - Leinster is always used as the example to represent the wealth of the four provinces, whilst ignoring the smaller budgets of Connacht and Ulster.  

Leaving that aside, as playing budgets are not restricted by the PRO14, what are the reasons that fans think the league is run by the Irish for Irish?   And do they have any merit?

Specifically, is the PRO14 run by the Irish?   Its office is based in Sandyford in Dublin, but key senior people in the organisation - CEO and Chair - come from England and Scotland.  The majority of senior staff don't come from Ireland.  The board of PRO14 has equal shareholder representation from all four unions.  The IRFU are in a minority on the board.

Is the PRO14 run for the Irish?    Again, one would need specifics to determine why this claim is made?   Is it related to location of PRO12/PRO14 finals?  Is it to do with the awarding of the most recent TV contract to an Irish-headquartered company compared to UK/British companies before that?  Is it to do with Ulster getting their games held on a Friday evening?  Is it to do with Irish refs being apparently incompetent and always favouring their home teams, overseen by Greg Garner an Englishman?   Is it to do with Irish provinces resting their top players and not respecting the league by putting out "second-string" teams and sometimes winning matches anyway?


You need to revise some of your post to indicate that you mean 'some Welsh fans'.  Unless you actually think ALL Welsh fans think that the Irish run the league, which would be a bit silly.  Just as a very small sample on these boards I would say that only a handful of the Welsh posters here think that. If you did a poll of Welsh 606 posters I doubt the majority would agree that the league is run by the Irish or for the Irish.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 12:37 pm

Brendan wrote:Please read what I actually said.
The Pro14 show 4 times as many free games as the premiership (21v5), which is assuming S4C only show the same games as Freesport. I don't know if people in the UK can watch TG4 for more games.

I am pointing out that if we want to grow the brand is it better to have free games on BBC Wales that doesn't seem to have much else non internationals or Freesport that has a load of other rugby that people are watching.

You imply that unless it is on BBC Wales then Welsh people won't know about it. People can check your comments to see if what I am saying is wrong.

If I am wrong please state why it is so important that BBC Wales get the rights to the league rather then the current setup.

oh for Gods sakes. I know where you are trying to take this.

But anyway. When the Pro14 was on BBC Wales, you had access to it, and they would advertise it. So if you were watching.....I don't know, the One Show, or Eastenders, or the news, then more often or not, you would see Friday nights game advertised and you would be aware of it.

There are a lot of people in Wales who do not even know about Freesports. We all know about BBC Wales.

We have a core of rugby supporters in Wales, that support the regions, they pay for PS, and they most likely watch FreeSports. But it is not enough.

If we want to emulate the Leinsters of this world, we need to break the market of the casual fan, we need these people, who are already watching the channel to get their heads turned, and think, oh I will watch that Friday night, then that casual fan might then become an actual fan.

If it is on an obscure channel, that not many people know about, then we are losing access to a lot of people. Also do not underestimate the people in bars and clubs who would watch it, I know my club refuses to pay the subscription fee for PS as it's too expensive.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Apr 2021, 1:01 pm

The Oracle wrote:You need to revise some of your post to indicate that you mean 'some Welsh fans'. Unless you actually think ALL Welsh fans think that the Irish run the league, which would be a bit silly. Just as a very small sample on these boards I would say that only a handful of the Welsh posters here think that. If you did a poll of Welsh 606 posters I doubt the majority would agree that the league is run by the Irish or for the Irish.

Yes, you might be correct regarding this forum. But I also think you honestly do know how it is viewed away from this place, I know PotHale does, as I have seen his username on other forums debating this very same topic with other Welsh rugby supporters.

I have spoken to Scottish fans who think this, and I know PotHale has spoken on other platforms about this as well. He is also an avid contributor to the WOL blogs as well.

So I am sure he is speaking with more experience than just being on V2. OK

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