World Cup set for US network debut
June 17, 2010
The 2011 Rugby World Cup will take place in New Zealand © Getty Images
Rugby World Cup matches are set to be broadcast on US network television for the first time after the International Rugby Board struck a ground-breaking deal with NBC Sports and Universal Sports.
The two broadcasters have been awarded the exclusive rights to the 2011 tournament in New Zealand and the 2015 tournament in England in a deal that will see the final of each Rugby World Cup broadcast on NBC and Universal Sports network as a key element of a multi-platform approach.
Under the deal, NBC and Universal Sports has also committed to broadcasting other key matches from each tournament, while live and delayed match video will also be accessible online and all the action will be broadcast in high definition.
Following confirmation of the deal, IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller said, "Today's announcement represents a significant milestone in the development of Rugby in the United States. NBC and Universal Sports are globally renowned for quality broadcast delivery of major sports events in the United States and their considerable experience and passion for sport will deliver the widespread platform for Rugby World Cup to truly capture the hearts and minds of American sports fans."
"The announcement further underscores the sport's rapidly growing profile in emerging Rugby markets, further accelerated by the IOC's decision to include Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Sports fans across America will be able to look forward to a Rugby World Cup that will showcase the very best that our sport has to offer. I am sure that it will be a hit."
The Universal Sports network has also broadcast the US College Sevens and the Churchill Cup this year.