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The Growth of Rugby in The United States

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The us sports broadcasting landscape is incredibly competitive. There are a number of major broadcast and cable sports entities growing constantly. It’s you know the big ones are obviously NBC, ESPN, CBS, Fox, Turner. A lot of the leagues having their own networks whether it’s the NFL network, The Major League Baseball Network, The NBA channel and then you have regional sports networks. Now where the local teams in each market has their own regional sports network and you layer all of that in as your base and then on top of that now you have a very strong digital over-the-top presence which is growing. So the landscape is very full continuing to grow, very competitive. So we all have to be very strategic when we go out and do our acquisitions and our planning.

So the NFL is the is the big Mack daddy as it were here in the us and their product is the most valuable television product out there and that’s they’re available on a week-to-week basis in the most desirable time of the year which is the fourth quarter. Sunday night football will average more than triple any other regular season sports delivery. To give you some examples there are a lot of very popular entertainment programs NBC has this is us has the voice none of them come close to the delivery that Sunday night football does. Well rugby for the longest time was really absent from the sports television landscape. I mean you did not see it anywhere or any of the broadcast networks. You didn’t really see it on the cable networks. The only familiarity that people had with rugby over here was the occasional you know world cup game possibly but that was it. There’s not a regular season for rugby and I think until there’s a regular season meaning that the American public and sports entertainment people, sponsors, broadcasters can see a regular season then you’re really you know asking people to get involved in something that that might not be might be one-off driven.

The biggest thing that happened here that really sparked our involvement, attention, and focus was when the Olympics brought rugby sevens into the games for 2016 in Rio. We were actually quite surprised and quite happy with how well the rugby did in Rio. The US did not make the medal round but despite that people still wanted to watch great competition and fortunately because we had been doing the collegiate sevens for five years prior to Rio and the HSBC sevens from Vegas. People were familiar with the sport. They had some familiarity not only with the players but the rules and the competition and so when they saw rugby sevens on during the Olympics they immediately said oh I’ve seen that before. I know this is a great game and we got tremendous numbers it out deliver our expectations. I think in the US, that’s the sport that people are most familiar with. They’ll now see the world cup taking place out in San Francisco. Once they understand sevens, I think it gives us a great opportunity to further introduce them to the game of 15s and the overall sport itself. People have got to be able to wake up and I know that rugbys on this weekend or I know where to find my rugby. Well people are used to searching for their game but if it’s gonna create mass appeal. It was about how do you get it out into the public.

So NBC you know looked at the rugby world cup looking at the six nations and said hey if we can get the best rugby you know on linear tv you know 80 percent of the time. Then I think that we can really capture the imagination of the American sports landscape. As you may have heard rugby’s greatest championship the six nations is coming to NBC sports. Anyway my goal is that 10 years from now. We will have already done an extension for the world cup that we will have acquired other high-end rugby properties at the premiership has a seat at the table. Every year that we’ve developed some real strong local domestic rugby product with us a rugby that we continue to grow the college game and then it becomes a real legitimate sport not only from participation but then as a television property. People look to it and see it and make it appointment television because it’s so exciting and so compelling I just think it brings out all the characteristics in a sport that I think we want to see it’s a sport that we want to be associated with. It’s because the people who are in the sport who play the sport who coached the sport who administer the sport those are the type of people I think that are good for us to be in business with and I really do feel that and it’s not all say that about a lot of sports.

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The Growth of Rugby in the United States. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from
“The Growth of Rugby in the United States.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2019,
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