Televised rugby union in England is getting a makeover ahead of the new season as part of the rebranding from BT to TNT Sports, and sources told Telegraph Sport that fans will be closer to the action than ever before, with the use of of moving cameras and a revamp for pre-match buildup is being explored by television executives.
The team of experts will welcome two new faces: Stuart Hogg and Emily Scarratt. Hogg, who retired from all rugby with immediate effect last week with 100 Scotland caps to his name, will join the TNT Sports think tank along with Scarratt, the World Cup winner who has established herself as a Popular broadcaster, comprising a third of The Good. , The Scaz & The Rugby podcast.
In a further shake-up, Orla Chennaoui, the current main presenter of Eurosport’s cycling coverage, will join Craig Doyle on the presenting team, who will also be complemented by titular pundit Ugo Monye in a hybrid role. The current plan is understood to be for Chennaoui, a rugby fan, to present the game on Friday night, Monye on Saturday and Doyle on Sunday.
Rugby Tonight, BT Sport’s Sunday night review of the weekend’s action, will not continue in its current guise, instead being replaced by a rugby analysis show starting directly after Sunday’s match, broadcast on live from the stadium in which it takes place and could include fan participation. “Where we can be on site and connect with the sport and the fans, we will,” a senior TNT Sports executive told Telegraph Sport.
In a further boost to the Premiership’s desire to increase its appeal to casual fans and non-rugby fans alike, Telegraph Sport understands that the Premier League kick-off on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. accessory without the viewer having to change channels.
Telegraph Sport understands that TNT Sport has identified the casual or non-traditional rugby fan as a key area of growth, hoping that the appeal of live sport will convince a portion of its football audience to stay with the channel afterward. of the final whistle.
“What is the next evolution of rugby content?” said a TNT Sports executive. “How do we connect rugby and football together? We don’t see a negative; only advantages. But we have to do it carefully, treating both communities as ‘rugby fans’ or ‘soccer fans’, but there is an opportunity at that time on Saturday.”
Last season, three Premiership teams went under due to financial difficulties being felt across the league. While TNT Sports was saddened by the demise of three well-known brands, the broadcaster is seeing the bright sides. It is understood that a 10-team league is considered the ideal size at boardroom level, due to the increased availability of international players.
“We raised that with the Premiership a long time ago,” added the executive. “That’s where the casual audience flows. If you’re a casual fan and you follow international rugby, you’re more likely to follow those internationals back to their clubs.”
What does the brand change mean?
Although none of BT Sport’s pundits and commentators have been relieved of their duties on the TNT merger, the addition of Hogg, Scarratt and Chennaoui means viewers should expect to see some new faces on their screens when domestic rugby restarts again. in September. and, perhaps, see some of the presenters and experts who return a little less frequently.
Austin Healey, Ben Kay, Lawrence Dallaglio and Brian O’Driscoll will continue to appear on TNT Sports, but the signing of Hogg and Scarratt means the aforementioned foursome could appear a little less frequently on our screens.