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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.

 

Men’s squad announcements for RWC Sevens 2018

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The Rugby World Cup Sevens announced squad listings that will compete in the tournament, beginning July 20 in San Francisco.

Captain Philip Snyman of South Africa will make his third appearance (2009, 2013, and 2018) at the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Despite the wealth of experience provided by Snyman, the rest of the squad is relatively new to the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Defending champions New Zealand will look to repeat, though they will only return two of their players, Captain Tim Mikkelson and Kurt Baker, from the 2013 winning side from Moscow.

“I am pleased with the squad,” noted New Zealand coach Neil Powell. “We do not have the greatest of records in this tournament, but that said, we know we will be a very competitive team if we play to our strengths and within our game plan. It is exciting times for all of us and we are ready to do our best for our country,” A slew of injuries and absences may hinder the All Blacks efforts this time around in San Francisco.

England, seeded fourth, brings 10 bronze medalists from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and six silver medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Australia (seeded No. 6) and Scotland (seeded No. 8) are both dark-horse contenders, with young squads that lack World Cup Sevens experience. Lewis Holland and Jesse Parahi will both feature for Australia, while San Francisco will mark Scotland’s Scott Riddell third appearance at the tournament.

The full squads are listed below:

South Africa Squad: Ryan Oosthuizen, Philip Snyman (captain), Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Heino Bezuidenhout, Dewald Human, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Selvyn Davids, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Ruhan Nel.

New Zealand Squad: Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Scott Curry (captain), Trael Joass, Andrew Knewstubb, Jona Nareki, Tim Mikkelson (captain), Sione Molia, Salesi Rayasi, Joe Ravouvou, Akuila Rokolisoa, Regan Ware.

England Squad: Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Richard de Carpentier, Will Edwards, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell (captain), Will Muir, Dan Norton, James Rodwell.

Australia Squad: Lachlan Anderson, Tim Anstee, Lewis Holland (captain), Henry Hutchison, Boyd Killingworth, Maurice Longbottom, Lloyd McDermott, Tom Lucas, Liam McNamara, Sam Myers, Ben O’Donnell, Jesse Parahi, 44 caps, John Porch*, Brandon Quinn.

Scotland Squad: Scott Riddell (captain), Nyle Godsmark, Jo Nayacavou, Jack Cuthbert, Alec Coombes, Robbie Fergusson, Gavin Lowe, Craig Jackson, Harvey Elms, Max McFarland, Jamie Farndale, Sam Pecquer.

Kenya Squad: Oscar Ayodi (captain), Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, William Ambaka, Samuel Oliech, Nelson Oyoo,  Dennis Ombachi, Jeff Oluoch, Brian Tanga, Eden Agero, Herman Humwa, Samuel Ng’ethe.

Japan Squad: Dai Ozawa, Ryoto Kano, Joe Kamana, Katsuyuki Sakai, Jone Naikabulam Jose Seru, Kameli Raravou Soejima, Tevita Tupou, Kosuke Hashino, Taisei Hayashi, Chihito Matsui, Taichi Yoshizawa, Josefa Lilidamu.

Ireland Squad: Robert Baloucoune, Jordan Conroy, Shane Daly, Billy Dardis (captain), Ian Fitzpatrick, Foster Horan, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, Jimmy O’Brien, John O’Donnell, Greg O’Shea.

Uruguay Squad:  Joaquín Alonso, Diego Ardao, Manuel Ardao, Felipe Etcheverry, Nicolás Freitas, Juanjuan Garese, Valentín Grille, Guillermo Lietjenstein, Gastón Mieres, Eugenio Plottier, Gabriel Puig (captain), Sebastián Schroeder.
Further squads will be published as they are announced.

NBC Sports to present comprehensive coverage of 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens

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STAMFORD, Conn – NBC Sports will present comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens from San Francisco, Calif., on July 20-22, totaling more than 30 hours of live rugby coverage across NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product, representing the most robust U.S. coverage of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in the event’s history.

“As the home of rugby in the United States, we’re proud to showcase the speed and excitement of the Rugby World Cup Sevens to a national audience with record-setting coverage,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “Our 30-plus hours of coverage of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens and exclusive offerings on NBC Sports Gold demonstrate our commitment to super-serve the growing rugby fanbase in the United States.”

The 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens will be held at AT&T Park – home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants – and will feature the top 24 men’s teams and top 16 women’s teams in the world as they compete for the World Cup.

NBC Sports will present live coverage of all matches of the men’s and women’s tournaments. Linear coverage begins on Friday, July 20, at 4 p.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, followed by six hours of coverage on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET. Weekend coverage on NBC on July 21-22 will immediately follow live golf coverage of The 147th Open at Carnoustie, and NBCSN will carry live coverage of both the men’s final on Sunday, July 22, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will provide streaming coverage of all 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens matches airing on NBC, NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. Additionally, all coverage airing on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will also stream on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.

2018 RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS TELECAST SCHEDULE
Date Network Time (ET)
Fri., July 20 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA 4 p.m.
NBCSN 7 p.m.
Sat., July 21 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA 12:25 p.m.
NBC 3 p.m.
Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA 5 p.m.
NBCSN 6:30 p.m.
Sun., July 22 Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA 11:55 a.m.
NBC 2:30 p.m.
  Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA 5 p.m.
NBCSN 7 p.m.

 

NBC SPORTS GOLD 2018 RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS COVERAGE

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will provide live, commercial-free coverage of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens via its “Rugby Pass.” Coverage begins with the Women’s Round of 16 matches on Friday, July 20, at 1 p.m. ET, prior to coverage airing on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA at 4 p.m. ET. In addition to all matches airing live and commercial-free, NBC Sports Gold will also present an exclusive 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens preview on Thursday, July 19, as well as a daily live recap show with highlights, post-match reactions and analysis. All matches and content on NBC Sports Gold will be available to fans on demand. The “Rugby Pass” can be purchased for $59.99 by visiting NBCSportsGold.com.


NBC SPORTS 2018 RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS COMMENTARY TEAM

NBC Sports’ game commentary and studio coverage will originate from San Francisco and will feature numerous high-profile rugby players, including current New England Patriots safety and 2016 U.S. Olympic Sevens team member Nate Ebner, who will serve as a studio analyst. Former USA Sevens captain Brian Hightower, U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame member Dan Lyle, former Premiership Rugby and English international prop Alex Corbisiero, and World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight will provide game and studio commentary throughout the tournament. Leigh Diffey and Bill Seward will handle play-by-play commentary, and Ahmed Fareed will host NBC Sports’ 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens studio coverage on-site in San Francisco.

Last year, NBC Sports Group acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Rugby World Cup through a seven-year partnership with World Rugby. The agreement included 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.

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, 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.