THE FOUR WELSH regions who compete in the RaboDirect Pro12 have agreed a new sponsorship deal with BT Sport.
The three-year “multi-million pound” contract will see the Scarlets, Dragons and Ospreys wear BT Sport’s logo on their jerseys, while the Blues have agreed to rename their home stadium as ‘BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park’.
The broadcaster already has logo placement on the match-day kits of Scottish sides Glasgow and Edinburgh, and will screen next season’s inaugural Rugby Champions Cup alongside rivals Sky Sports.
BT also broadcast the English Premiership and are extremely ambitious about further growth in rugby. The fact that Sky have already agreed to broadcast Pro12 games from next season makes this move by BT appear calculated in the extreme.
Included in the Welsh regions’ press release today is mention that, “as a key sponsor, BT Sport’s brand will feature prominently in all the Welsh regions’ home grounds, within community activity and in regional rugby marketing materials.”
That Sky Sports’ cameras will be screening games from those very stadiums, with the BT logo “prominently” displayed on both playing kits and pitch-side markings will surely be a frustration.
For the Welsh regions, the financial boost is a timely one, as they continue to focus on keeping their best players in the country. The war between BT and Sky is only likely to grow in the coming seasons.