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Premiership Rugby ramp up commercial efforts with Darren Childs appointment

Premiership Rugby is set to name Darren Childs as the chief executive of its commercial arm.

The appointment would be the first major hire since CVC Capital Partners paid £220m for a 27-per-cent share in English rugby’s top tier in December 2018, and clearly signals the firm’s intent to capitalise on the sport’s commercial potential.

Childs’ appointment looks set to be confirmed at a meeting of the 13 Premiership club chairmen today. He will join from UKTV, where he has served as the chief executive for eight and a half years. As recently as last week, his name was rumoured to be on the shortlist for the vacant chief executive position at football’s Premier League due to his experience of TV rights negotiations – believed to be a major reason for his selection by CVC, who see significant growth potential in the Premiership’s broadcast rights.

The appointment completes the separation of Premier Rugby Ltd’s commercial and sporting arms, and has highlighted the autonomy CVC is exercising over those commercial operations. According to The Times, the Premiership clubs were unaware of the identity of their new commercial chief until the news leaked yesterday. Mark McCafferty, chief executive of PRL since 2005, will remain in control of the sporting arm.

CVC is still rumoured to be considering eliminating relegation and promotion as a way of ring-fencing the commercial revenues of the Premiership by ensuring its most popular and most profitable teams play at the top level every season. The motion is reportedly up for discussion at today’s PRL chairmen’s meeting.