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BYU to face Cal in rugby college championship

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For the fourth consecutive year, the Cal Golden Bears and BYU Cougars will square off in Provo, Utah, for the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Collegiate Championship. NBCSN will present live coverage of the Cal-BYU championship clash this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

BYU has defeated Cal in each of the three previous iterations of the Varsity Cup dating back to 2012, including last year’s championship, when the Cougars earned a 30-27 win at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. This year’s game will be played at BYU’s South Field, where the Cougars have never lost a game.

Cal advanced to this year’s championship match following a 14-13 win over Central Washington in the semifinals, while the top-ranked Cougars punched their ticket to the title match with a 68-20 win over Arkansas State. BYU has won 44 consecutive matches dating back to February 2014.

Cal leads the all-time series against BYU 10-4 dating back to 1972, but BYU has had the upper hand recently with three straight wins in the Varsity Cup.

NBC Sports Group acquires exclusive U.S. media rights to Rugby World Cup

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STAMFORD, Conn., & DUBLIN, Ireland — NBC Sports Group has acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Rugby World Cup through a seven-year partnership with World Rugby, both parties announced today. The agreement includes media rights on all platforms and in all languages to the Rugby World Cups in 2019 and 2023; the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 and 2021; the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018 and 2022; and the annual World Rugby U20 Championships from 2017-2023.

“This agreement is the culmination of years of cultivating our rugby portfolio. It began with U.S. collegiate rugby clubs and now, through this unprecedented agreement, includes the greatest tournaments, teams, players and coaches in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports Group. “Whether it is men’s or women’s, sevens or 15s, pros or amateurs, rugby fans can rest assured that they will have more access to more premier rugby content than has ever been possible in the U.S.”

“The USA is one of the fastest-growing markets for rugby participation and fan growth,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont. “This exciting and unprecedented deal with one of the world’s most prestigious broadcasters will ensure that more people than ever before in the USA will be able to access the world’s top men’s and women’s fifteens and sevens events. NBC will be the destination for rugby in the USA.”

“This deal represents a significant uplift on previous deals in the US, reflecting the ever-increasing stature of rugby within what is arguably the most competitive commercial marketplace for sport,” added World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper. “This all-encompassing deal with our friends at NBC is great for fans and great for rugby as we look towards San Francisco’s hosting of Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.”

The agreement begins this spring with the World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 from Georgia, and continues this August with the Women’s Rugby World Cup from Ireland. San Francisco, Calif., will host the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July of 2018, while Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Sites beyond 2019 have yet to be determined. Following is a year-by-year breakdown of the events included in the agreement:

  • 2017: Women’s Rugby World Cup (Ireland); World Rugby U20 Championship (Georgia)
  • 2018: Rugby World Cup Sevens (San Francisco, Calif.); World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2019: Rugby World Cup (Japan); World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2020: World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2021: Women’s Rugby World Cup; World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2022: Rugby World Cup Sevens; World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2023: Rugby World Cup; World Rugby U20 Championship

NBC Sports anticipates utilizing NBC, NBCSN, The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer product — and possibly other platforms to provide more comprehensive U.S. coverage of the numerous events included in the agreement than ever before.

All rugby sevens events will be presented by the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, part of a comprehensive content and distribution partnership formed in 2016 by the IOC, USOC, and NBCUniversal. The centerpiece of the partnership is a U.S. linear cable channel, which will launch this summer. Rugby sevens debuted as an Olympic sport during Rio 2016.

NBC Sports Group’s multi-year agreement with World Rugby enhances its already robust slate of rugby programming, which includes exclusive Olympic rugby coverage through 2032, Premiership Rugby, the Rugby Sevens World Series, the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. NBC Sports Group has also provided coverage of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, and exhibition matches in conjunction with USA Rugby that feature the USA Eagles, New Zealand All Blacks, and Qantas Wallabies.

 

NBC Sports Gold Offers Every Aviva Premiership Rugby Match from Round 19 through the final

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NBC Sports Gold — NBC Sports Digital’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product — will give fans access to every Aviva Premiership Rugby match from Round 19 through the final with its new “Rugby Pass.” The direct-to-consumer pass, powered by Playmaker Media, will offer fans in the U.S. unprecedented commercial-free coverage, live and on-demand, on mobile, tablet and connected TV devices.

NBC Sports Gold “Rugby Pass” features every match (six per round) from Round 19, which begins April 7, through the exciting conclusion of the 2016-17 season Semi-Finals and Final. The “Rugby Pass” can be purchased in advance for $29.99 starting today by visiting NBCSportsGold.com.

“We are excited to offer rugby fans more access to the sport they love on NBC Sports Gold,” said Portia Archer, Vice President, Direct-to-Consumer Services, NBC Sports Group. “From the Saracens in London to the Falcons in Newcastle, rugby fans have more ways to follow their club than ever before.”

NBC Sports Gold also offers a “Cycling Pass,” which began with the 2016 Tour de France.

NBC Sports Gold is available on Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.com. NBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.

NBC SPORTS GOLD “RUGBY PASS” SCHEDULE:

Date Time Match
Fri., April 7 2:45 p.m. Sale Sharks vs. Worcester Warriors
Fri., April 7 3 p.m. Newcastle Falcons vs. Gloucester
Sat., April 8 9 a.m. Bath vs. Leicester Tigers
Sat., April 8 10 a.m. Exeter Chiefs vs. Bristol
Sat., April 8 11:30 a.m. Saracens vs. Harlequins
Sun., April 9 10 a.m. Wasps vs. Northampton Saints
Fri., April 14 2:45 p.m. Harlequins vs. Exeter Chiefs
Sat., April 15 10 a.m. Worcester Warriors vs. Bath
Sat., April 15 10 a.m. Leicester Tigers vs. Newcastle Falcons
Sat., April 15 10 a.m. Gloucester vs. Sale Sharks
Sun., April 16 10 a.m. Northampton Saints vs. Saracens
Sun., April 16 10 a.m. Bristol vs. Wasps
Fri., April 28 2:45 p.m. Harlequins vs. Wasps
Fri., April 28 3 p.m. Newcastle Falcons vs. Worcester Warriors
Sat., April 29 10 a.m. Exeter Cheifs vs. Northampton Saints
Sat., April 29 10 a.m. Leicester Tigers vs. Sale Sharks
Sat., April 29 10 a.m. Saracens vs. Bristol
Sun., April 30 10 a.m. Bath vs. Gloucester
Sat., May 6 TBD Worcester Warriors vs. Leicester Tigers
Sat., May 6 TBD Sale Sharks vs. Bath
Sat., May 6 TBD Gloucester vs. Exeter Chiefs
Sat., May 6 TBD Wasps vs. Saracens
Sat., May 6 TBD Northampton Saints vs. Harlequins
Sat., May 6 TBD Bristol vs. Newcastle Falcons
Fri., May 19 TBD Semifinal
Sat., May 20 TBD Semifinal
Sat., May 27 TBD Final