Premier Sports and Virgin Media row rumbles on

The row regarding Premier Sports’ coverage of the upcoming World Cup on Virgin Media remains unresolved, meaning thousands of fans could miss out on watching the tournament.

Premier Sports will be showing every single match live, but their channel is still not available on Virgin Media. It is available through the Sky platform via a monthly subscription.

Following our story last week on MP Greg Mulholland raising the issue in parliament, Virgin Media contacted us with a statement.

Stephane David, executive director of content at Virgin Media said: “We’d be happy to add Premier Sports to our extensive line-up of 15 sports channels, which includes Sky Sports and BT Sport in HD, and we’ve offered them the opportunity to broadcast on Virgin Media’s TV platform on a similar premium basis as they do elsewhere. Sadly Premier Sports has declined the offer, although we hope they will reconsider as discussions continue. 

“Viewers interested in the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup will be able to enjoy great coverage from the BBC, including extensive live TV coverage on BBC One and BBC Two and every game live on BBC Radio.”

But, after we contacted a representative to discuss Virgin’s version of events, Premier Sports expressed their disappointment at the response from Virgin, and sought to clarify their position.

Richard Sweeney, General Manager of Premier Sports, said: “It was Virgin Media who first approached Premier Sports about going on the XL platform and withdrew from those discussions at the same time a deal for BT Sport was agreed.

“The negotiations over the summer were only focused on XL and Premier Sports were happy to proceed on that basis.

“To suggest Premier Sports should accept Premium on Virgin because it is Premium on SKY fails to address that Virgin Media’s Premium terms are very different to SKY’s hence Premier has never been interested in negotiating on that basis.

“Finally, Premier Sports are disappointed to note that Virgin Media are suggesting to their customers that they can enjoy the Rugby League World Cup by watching 7 of the 28 games on the BBC and listening to the rest on BBC radio.”

The Parliamentary Rugby League Group, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, takes on issues important to rugby league.  

The Group’s Secretariat, Mark Ramsdale, told Love Rugby League that it has been one of its most wide-reaching campaigns the Group has delivered in recent years with thousands of fans taking the opportunity to review the Group’s letterto Virgin Media in which Mulholland called the now-timely issue “lamentable”.

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