Editors have denied their newspapers’ rugby union coverage has been affected by a new official media partnership announced by the sport’s governing body in Scotland.
News UK’s Scottish titles – The Scottish Sun, The Times Scotland and The Sunday Times Scotland – have been unveiled as the official newspaper partners of Scottish Rugby for the next three years.
The deal gives the newspapers “unique and exclusive access” to players and coaches for the Scotland national team, as well as professional club sides Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.
The News UK titles will also have a branding presence at the national team’s Murrayfield stadium – including with big screen advertising, signage around the stadium perimeter and fans able to take advantage of match-day promotional offers.
An announcement by Scottish Rugby states the deal will ensure readers get “unmatched reporting and insight”.
But despite the “exclusive access” element of the deal, both the Glasgow-based Herald & Times Group and Aberdeen’s Press and Journal have denied it will result in any change in their papers’ coverage of the sport.
Editor-in-chief Magnus Llewellin said: “There has been no change in our coverage, or the coverage in any other outlet, as a result of this deal being announced.”
Dominic McKay, chief operating officer of Scottish Rugby, said: “We’re delighted to announce our most recent sponsorship with News UK. As we continue to grow our rugby audiences in Scotland, the partnership with News UK will enable rugby to be taken to new markets through reader offers in The Sun and will cement our relationship with existing fans through The Times titles.
“The partnership will help our marketing of the game in Scotland across the broad demographics that the three titles encapsulate through both in paper and digital content.
“With TV and match-day audiences continuing to increase year on year, it’s great that News UK have acknowledged the growth of Scottish Rugby and have joined our expanding family of commercial partners.”