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SBD Global/August 30, 2017/Media

Pro14 Could Go Exclusively To Satellite TV Next Season, CEO Anayi Says

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Pro14 CEO Martin Anayi admitted he "would never rule out" a deal that would see games exclusively aired on satellite TV when the current contract expires at the end of this season, according to Matthew Southcombe of WALES ONLINE. Amid "what is being viewed as a new dawn for the league," with South African teams Cheetahs and Southern Kings joining the newly-expanded Pro14, Anayi revealed there will be "changes to the current TV status quo." Games are currently shared across Sky Sports and regional BBC channels S4C and TG4 in a deal that brought in "around" £11.6M last season. The South African teams coming on board have "boosted that to the tune of" £6M ($7.75M). But the league "still lags significantly behind" Premiership Rugby, which has a deal worth "in the region of" £42M ($54.3M), and the French Top14, which has a contract with Canal+ worth around £75M ($96.9M). Anayi said, "I already know there is (going to be a radical change to the TV deal). ... All options are on the table because the most important thing is that we allow our clubs to be competitive on the pitch and that means you have to generate as much revenue as possible off it. That's both from fans coming through the gate and also from television or sponsorship and all other revenue streams that we are producing centrally for them. There's an argument either way. If you put more games exclusively on paid TV, you might see more fans coming through the gate, arguably" (WALES ONLINE, 8/29).
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