Leicester Tigers fans will discover the Aviva Premiership fixtures for the 2017/18 season when they are released at 11am today.
Here, Premiership Rugby answers some of supporters’ most common questions about the process behind the schedule.
How are the fixtures for Premiership Rugby constructed?
In essence, the process starts in January which is when the season structure for the coming season is agreed by the Professional Game Board. We then work with ATOS, an IT company that also work with the Premier League and EFL on their fixtures, to develop Premiership Rugby’s fixture list.
From January we look at all possible options, and then in March we consult with the clubs on a number of variables that will impact the fixtures list.
Some of these are club preferences, such as intentions to play home matches at 3rd party venues on specific dates, and some are very practical, such as ground unavailability due to, for example, local events, Premier League or EFL fixtures, building work, police requests etc.
We take all of this into account when we draw up the schedule and try our best to accommodate them in the final version.
We receive a first draft of the fixtures list in June and then we spend a few weeks refining it until we can be confident that we have a fair season structure with a good flow. What we’re looking for in terms of the flow is points like ensuring there are no more than two home/away matches in a row. We also want the final version to deliver as many club requests as possible.
Once we’re happy, then we can announce!
When will BT Sport be announcing their live broadcast selections?
We work very closely with BT Sport, and as part of that we will release the TV selections for the first 10 rounds of Premiership Rugby matches on BT Sport at the same time as we release the fixtures. So fans will find out the TV schedule for the first 10 matches on 7 July.
This helps fans to plan and is in line with BT Sport’s commitment to give fans 12 weeks’ notice of changes to kick-off times.
How are matches picked for broadcast?
There are meetings held at specific times throughout the season with BT Sport to pick blocks of broadcast matches.
These are decided on numerous criteria but take into account club requests, restrictions on some clubs that mean they can’t play on certain days and player welfare.
How is it that you can announce some fixtures, such as the USA game, before the main fixtures?
With certain fixtures, we know a long way ahead of time when they are going to take place because the planning process for them is more complicated and so takes longer to complete. The USA game is a good example of this.
As a result, we are in a position to announce the dates earlier than the other fixtures and we believe it benefits the fans to have sight of those dates as soon as possible. So we announce those events separately.
How do the fixtures actually get released on Fixture Release Day?
Once the fixtures have been shared with clubs, they are announced by Premiership Rugby and the clubs. This year, the full schedule will be available on the Leicester Tigers website from 11am on Friday, July 7.