Aviva Premiership Rugby will be broadcast on BT Sport for the next six seasons in a ground-breaking new TV deal, Premiership Rugby can confirm.
The top flight of English club rugby will be live on BT Sport until at least the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premiership Rugby, said: "BT Sport has been a fantastic partner for English club rugby so we are delighted that we have been able to extend our relationship with them for a further four years. This is the longest TV agreement in the history of Premiership Rugby.
"In the 18 months we have been on-air with them our live TV audiences have grown by 50 per cent so it is clear that the partnership is going from strength to strength.
"In almost two seasons of coverage broadcasting the Aviva Premiership BT Sport has set new standards for the live broadcast of rugby. Their innovative style has received great acclaim and we look forward to developing the partnership over the next six seasons.
"Aviva Premiership Rugby is in great health with a number of new commercial partners on board and it is testimony to the strength of the competition and our clubs that we have renewed more than two years before the current deal with BT Sport ends.
"We are enjoying a golden era for rugby in this country with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner and the game's re-entry in the Olympics in the summer of 2016. This announcement is another indication of the current strength of English rugby.”
John Petter, chief executive, BT Consumer, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be extending our partnership with Premiership Rugby. 2015 will be an amazing year for rugby in the UK and the popularity of rugby will continue to grow. We're delighted to be a part of this and that our customers can look forward to another six seasons of the Aviva Premiership on BT Sport.”
The agreement covers:
• A four-year extension to the current four-year deal, making it the longest in Premiership Rugby history
• Live broadcast rights for up to 80 live matches per season from Aviva Premiership Rugby for four years starting from the 2017-18 season
• Extended highlights rights for all 135 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches per season from 2015-16
• Live broadcast rights to matches from the entire Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series until the end of the 2020-21 season
• Midweek Review and Preview programming
As major partners of Premiership Rugby, BT Sport will also work with Premiership Rugby to develop a community rugby programme and continue to market top flight English club rugby.
McCafferty added: "This partnership is about far more that what is seen on our TV screens. BT Sport is committed to Premiership Rugby and they will help us to grow the game in England."