Premiership Rugby to become first club competition screened in China

Saracens' trip to Leicester will be the first Premiership match shown live in China. David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens' trip to Leicester Tigers Christmas Eve will be the first Aviva Premiership match shown live on Chinese television as part of a new broadcast deal the league described as "ground breaking".

Premiership Rugby has agreed to a four-year deal for free-to-air Chinese broadcaster CCTV5+ to screen 25 league matches per season, plus the semifinals and final.

It will be the first time that club rugby is broadcast in China -- the only previous tournament aired was the 2015 Rugby World Cup -- and expand the global distribution of England's top flight to almost 600 million households worldwide.

Dominic Hayes, commercial director at Premiership Rugby: "This is a very significant day in the history of Premiership Rugby. Launching on free-to-air TV in China is part of our strategic goal of increasing the global impact of Premiership Rugby and helping to grow the game in new countries around the world. CCTV5+ reaches 400 million households and this will lead to a huge increase in rugby's exposure, in a new and very exciting market.

"Today's news is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and is further testament to RDA's commitment to delivering unparalleled global distribution for our property."