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Premier Sports and Virgin Media strike carriage deal for RLWC

UK pay-television channel Premier Sports has resolved its long-running dispute with pay-television operator Virgin Media by agreeing a carriage deal on the platform ahead of the start of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup tournament.

Premier Sports will air all 28 matches from the competition and Virgin Media’s four million customers will now have access to the channel, which also airs in the homes of rival pay-television operator BSkyB’s 10 million subscribers.

The Parliamentary Rugby League Group intervened in a bid to end the stand-off earlier this month and Premier Sports’ executive producer Neal Coupland believes its action was vital.

“The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has been tremendous in its support for Premier Sports in drawing this saga to a close,” he said. 

“As soon as we got in touch with them, they sprang into action and I have no doubt that their pressure, combined the support of rugby league fans who became aware of the issue, compelled Virgin Media to reconsider their position.”

The resolution comes in time for the start of Rugby World Cup 2013, which kicks off tomorrow at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, with England taking on Australia before Wales clash with Italy.

Public-service broadcaster the BBC will broadcast seven World Cup matches live across the UK and carry the rest of the games on its Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra radio stations.