ESPN Aviva Premiership Rugby coverage details announced

ESPN has announced its plans for live coverage of the climax to the Aviva Premiership Rugby season as the league’s top four teams compete to be crowned 2011-12 champions.

 “We are delighted to be broadcasting the Aviva Premiership Final in 3D, it’s going to be a fantastic event. By working with channel partners and continuing to invest heavily in our own 3D sports coverage, we’re able to offer our customers a fantastic array of sport in 3D this summer, with rugby, football, cricket and tennis all available in immersive 3D over the next few months. Sky 3D customers can look forward to a monumental summer of sport.” – John Cassy, director of Sky 3D

On Saturday 26th May ESPN will be the exclusive live broadcaster of the Aviva Premiership Final from Twickenham, and for the first time ever, will provide 3D television coverage of the Final. ESPN’s live coverage and commentary will be made available to viewers on Sky 3D.

England international and Sale winger Mark Cueto (for standard 2D coverage) and Worcester Warriors captain Pat Sanderson (for 3D coverage), along with other guests, will join the ESPN rugby presenting team for its coverage of the Final, to offer their insight and analysis throughout the telecasts.

Before the Final, ESPN will have exclusive live coverage of the semi-final between Leicester Tigers and Saracens. Starting at 4:45pm on Saturday 12th May, ESPN will bring viewers complete coverage of the semi-final pitting the rivals who have met in the Final the past two years in a row. Last year, Saracens came out on top in a thrilling Final, while a year before the Tigers were victorious with a dynamic game-winning try in the final minutes.

The semi-final and Final mark the culmination of ESPN’s second season broadcasting the Aviva Premiership. Every one of its 43 live matches have been broadcast on-site from a custom built set designed to bring viewers closer to the action and capture the unique atmosphere of the game. All pre- and post-match discussion is led by Mark Durden-Smith alongside analysts, and former England internationals, Austin Healey and Ben Kay and a guest from the world of rugby every week. Commentary comes from Nick Mullins together with Healey and Kay, while Sarra Elgan is ESPN’s chief rugby reporter, bringing all the news and player interviews from pitch side.

Throughout the season ESPN’s Masterclass scheme – a grassroots initiative in partnership with Premiership Rugby – has helped bring the game to more than 1,000 children and hundreds of grassroots rugby coaches across England. The programme has seen ESPN visit the towns and cities of each Aviva Premiership club to deliver coaching sessions for young players and coaches of youth rugby. Each one has been held in conjunction with the local Premiership club, whose players and coaches have joined Kay, Healey plus ex-England international Pete Richards, to pass on their tips and expertise to help boost grassroots rugby in the area.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing fans two of the biggest rugby matches on the calendar. This year ESPN has built on a great first season of Aviva Premiership Rugby coverage, continuing to offer fans a unique perspective on the game with authority and personality.” – Jeroen Oerlemans, Vice President, TV Channels ESPN, EMEA

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