Ulster Rugby v Llanelli Scarlets

No matter where you’re reading this I want to kick off the new season by saying thank you to all of our fans. We begin a new era this weekend and without the vibrancy of our clubs and the passionate support you give them then others would not have been so aware of what a terrific tournament we have. Premier Sports have joined as the lead broadcast partner in the UK, committing to screening all 152 games live, while eir sport will take up the reins in the Republic of Ireland where fans will have never-before-seen access to every game of the season. Premier Sports and eir sport are focused on raising the standards of presentation with more analysis, behind the scenes access, mid-week programming, highlights and opinions from players who know just what it’s like to compete at the highest level in the Guinness PRO14, in the Test arena and, indeed, for the British & Irish Lions. Naturally, some people have wondered why we did not continue our partnerships with other broadcasters, but Premier Sports and eir sport share our vision for the Championship – they see it for all that is, all that it can be. Our new broadcast partners will be innovative and place the Guinness PRO14 as their No 1 sports property. This is great news for all of our supporters who will be able to follow their teams both home & away, while keeping tabs on all of their rivals as the season progresses. We’re also very proud that S4C in Wales and TG4 in Ireland will remain part of our broadcast family. They join Free Sports (Premier’s sister channel) in providing Free-To-Air coverage of the Guinness PRO14 in addition to their local language commentary. It is especially pleasing for S4C to be on board given their involvement from the very beginning of the Celtic League in 2001. Of course, your support in the stadium makes a big impact. We know that more and more of you are turning up each season and in the previous campaign our attendances rose by 10%. You saw more tries than ever before – 861 to be exact – and that all stemmed from the speed of our ruck ball which World Rugby statistics have ranked as the quickest of any professional club tournament across the globe. A total of 297 International players appeared in the Guinness PRO14 last season with 76 making their Test debuts, all of which underlines the incredible work that takes place in all of our clubs to generate top-class talent season after season. For the first time the Championship is now home to the current Champions Cup winners and the Challenge Cup winners – Leinster Rugby and Cardiff Blues. Those are tremendous achievements to boast about and further congratulations to Leinster who not only became the first team to do the Guinness PRO14 and European Cup double, but they also claimed their fifth title which is the most of any team in our Championship. Of course, everyone is fighting to reach the Guinness PRO14 Final at Celtic Park which will mark another historic chapter for our Championship as the showpiece game is played at a non-rugby stadium for the first time. To get access to the best offers check our official accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or just visit bit. ly/glasgow2019 to get your tickets. I would also like to say a huge thank you to our title sponsors Guinness for their continued support and also welcome SportPesa to our family of Championship partners that includes eir, Gilbert and Macron. Finally, I’d like to wish all of our teams, coaches, players and supporters the very best of the luck for the season ahead. Enjoy the game, Martin Anayi Chief Executive Officer

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