All UK homes will be able to watch this Friday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby clash between Harlequins and Northampton Saints after Bt Sport bosses announced the game would be broadcast free to air.
The match will air on BT TV (507/510/58), Sky (413/426), Virgin (547/549) and Freeview (57) from 7pm.
Existing TV subscribers will be able to watch as normal, as will those who watch online via the BT Sport website or App.
Both teams secured thrilling victories in the first round of matches last Saturday and viewers can expect to see a fiercely competitive match when they meet this week.
BT Sport is showing 69 live games from the Aviva Premiership for four years from the start of the 2013/14 season, plus the Premiership Rugby Sevens and two live matches a week from the French Top 14 league.
The broadcaster has hailed “terrific’ viewing figures for its first weekend of rugby coverage.
Newcastle v Bath averaged 67k viewers (peak 108k) while London Irish v Saracens and London Wasps v Harlequins attracted 77k and 103k viewers on average (111k and 121k in match audience) and Leicester v Worcester averaged 70k viewers (peak 156k).
A spokesperson said the ratings were 45 per cent higher than ESPN audiences across their opening season and higher than Sky Sports opening games of the season last year.
Channel bosses have promised to revolutionise rugby coverage, including bringing viewers interviews with players, directors of rugby and coaches during the game.
They’ve also introducing dressing room cameras and new camera angles including a “Lineout Cam” which can be lifted above the touch judge giving a great view of the lineout and the ball, and “Kicking Cam” – this is a small remote camera which is placed behind the kicker giving a new low angle from directly behind the kick.
Announcing the free match, Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those rugby fans who haven’t yet signed up to BT Sport to see just how good our coverage is. It’s also a chance for those new to rugby to sample the action and be converted to the game.
“We want to bring the excitement of club rugby to as big an audience as possible. We are the new home of club rugby with exclusively live Aviva Premiership Rugby games across the season.”
Dominic Hayes, Commercial director at Premiership Rugby, added: “Premiership Rugby is delighted with this news from BT Sport. We take our responsibility to grow the game very seriously so to have this crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby match available on all these platforms is a big bonus.
“If the first weekend’s matches are a guide this is set to be a cracker, one that will be watched by an even bigger audience. Rugby people everywhere should applaud the decision, as it brings more people into contact with top-flight club rugby.”