Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio has signed with BT Sport to become its leading rugby union expert.
Lawrence, 40, is the first signing to be announced for BT Sport’s exclusive coverage of up to 69 live matches a season from the Aviva Premiership. He will feature both as a co-commentator for some live matches and studio pundit for other live clashes, when BT Sport launches in the summer.
The England and Wasps hero, who was an integral part of the national team that triumphed in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, will also be a headline figure for BT Sport and will feature prominently in TV ads. He will also become a BT Ambassador, following in the footsteps of London 2012 heroes, such as the Brownlee brothers and Jonnie Peacock.
BT will be the home of rugby for four years from the start of the 2013/14 season, having secured up to 69 live matches a season from the Aviva Premiership, as well as the JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens and live matches from the French Top 14.
Lawrence, who was awarded an OBE in 2008, joins a list of high profile sporting figures who have joined BT Sport. Jake Humphrey will front the new channels’ 38 live football games from the Barclays Premier League, while Clare Balding will host a sports magazine show for BT Sport.
“I am genuinely thrilled to be joining BT Sport as its rugby expert. BT has huge ambitions for rugby union and I am delighted to be involved with that from the beginning. I hope that we can make BT Sport the place to watch rugby and I know it has some great new ideas to really put the viewer at the heart of the action.”
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said:
“Lawrence is a giant of rugby union and we are thrilled that he has agreed to play such a pivotal role across our rugby coverage. The insight and analysis he offers, gained through captaining his country and winning 85 caps, will be absolutely invaluable to BT Sport.
“We saw an opportunity to make BT Sport the home of rugby union, offering live games from the Aviva Premiership, the rugby sevens, top flight French rugby and top European matches in the future. We believe that Lawrence’s standing in the game and his ability as a broadcaster will help us to achieve that aim.”
Since retiring in 2008, Lawrence has worked tirelessly to raise millions for charity through the Dallaglio Foundation. Two big Cycle Slam events have raised over £3m for charities such as Sport Relief and Cancer Research UK, with other sportsmen like ex-Arsenal footballer Lee Dixon joining Lawrence to cycle over 2500km. The Dallaglio Foundation now has its own Rugby Programme which helps young people to make the right life choices.
The BT Sport channels will be based at the iCITY development at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. A pre-registration site for customers to register their interest in BT Sport is available at www.btsport.com