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ITV awarded World Cup TV rights
Scrum.com
July 28, 2010

ITV have seen off the challenge of their rivals to secure the exclusive rights to broadcast the next two Rugby World Cup tournaments in the UK.

In a statement, Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) announced that, subject to contract, the commercial broadcaster, "has been awarded the UK Broadcast rights for Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and Host Broadcast rights for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England."

The announcement follows a "rigorous process" during which five parties submitted bids aimed at securing the UK rights for next year's showpiece in New Zealand and the more commercially-friendly tournament in England four years later.

Under the terms of the new deal, ITV will broadcast live coverage of every match from the 2011 tournament in New Zealand and the 2015 tournament in England. All matches will also be shown online at ITV.com with the deal also encompassing highlights and clips packages on television, online and mobile.

ITV has a long association with the Rugby World Cup, having broadcast every tournament since 1991 including the most-recent tournament in France three years ago when a UK audience of 16 million watched as England finished runners up to South Africa in France. That figured topped the 15 million viewers who watched on ITV1 as Jonny Wilkinson's dramatic extra time drop goal secured England the Webb Ellis Cup in 2003.

Mike Miller, RWCL Managing Director, said, "ITV and RWCL have enjoyed a long working partnership. Through its commitment to the sport and exceptional production values ITV has played a central role in the promotion and growth of Rugby and Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom and we are looking forward to extending that fruitful partnership over the next two RWC tournaments."

Niall Sloane, ITV Controller of Sport, commented, "ITV has a long association with Rugby World Cup and we are delighted to have secured the next two Rugby World Cups free-to-air for ITV's viewers, particularly as the 2015 tournament takes place in England."

"Rugby World Cup has provided some of sport's most iconic television moments of recent decades and - alongside live coverage of the FIFA World Cup, England football internationals, UEFA Champions League and The FA Cup - it is a key part of ITV1's commitment to high quality live sport."

Rugby World Cup 2011, the seventh RWC, kicks off in New Zealand on September 9 and will feature the top 20 teams in the world competing across 48 tournament matches. The final will be played on October 23, 2011 at Auckland's Eden Park Stadium.

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