Universal Sports Network, NBC Sports Group announce U.S. broadcast plans for IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 with one year to go

LOS ANGELES - On the heels of the historic match between USA Rubgy and the New Zealand All Blacks, Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports Group announced multi-platform coverage plans for next year’s IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. From September 18 through October 31, 2015, Universal Sports and NBC Sports will broadcast nine of the tournament’s 48 matches. In addition to exclusive matches, coverage will feature a studio pre-game show plus halftime and post-game shows, as well as several other production enhancements.

Universal Sports will broadcast LIVE coverage of seven matches, beginning on Friday, September 18 at 2 p.m. ET with the Opening Ceremony, followed by the first match of the tournament featuring host country England against Fiji. Universal Sports will also air LIVE coverage of all Team USA’s matches in pool play. NBC will broadcast the October 24 semi-final match one week before LIVE coverage of the World Cup Final on Saturday, October 31 at 12 p.m. ET.

In addition to broadcast and cable TV coverage, all 48 of the tournament’s matches will be made available LIVE on a pay-per-view basis from leading cable, satellite and IPTV providers.

For online viewing, LIVE streaming and on-demand access to all 48 matches will be available exclusively at UniversalSports.com as a subscription offering. Fans will be able to purchase a full-tournament package or individual matches online to watch via the web on desktop, mobile and other connected TV devices on a pay-per-view basis. Purchase details, including prices, will be announced in the spring of 2015 at universalsports.com/rwc2015.

“The Rugby World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and we are excited to showcase it to an American audience,” said Scott Brown, President of Universal Sports Network. “Interest in the sport of rugby has never been higher, and with unprecedented coverage across multiple platforms, both longstanding and new fans of the sport will be able to follow every minute of the action from England.”

“We’re proud to present live coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup to a national audience,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “The 2015 Rugby World Cup Final on NBC will serve as a great platform for the continued growth one of the world’s most popular sports.”

IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper added, “Rugby is taking off in the U.S., and we are excited to be partnering with Universal Sports Network to broadcast our Rugby World Cup 2015 tournament across the country. Through Universal Sports’ and NBC’s superb production values, extensive broadcast and digital platforms and passion for sport, I am sure that more Americans than ever before will interact with and be inspired by Rugby.

“With one year to go until the Final, we are confident that Rugby World Cup 2015 will be a very special, record-breaking global celebration of Rugby that will reach, engage and inspire new audiences around the world. It really will be too big to miss.”

Universal Sports acquired multi-platform media rights to the Rugby World Cup in a multi-year deal with the IRB (International Rugby Board) prior to the 2011 edition which allowed for Universal Sports and NBC to broadcast the quadrennial tournament LIVE for the first time in the United States.

The IRB Rugby World Cup is one of the largest and most avidly watched sporting events in the world, drawing an estimated 3.9 billion cumulative global TV audience in 207 territories during the 2011 event in New Zealand. The 2015 tournament field consists of 20 different nations, including defending champion New Zealand and the United States, who will compete over the course of six weeks for the coveted Webb Ellis Cup. New Zealand and Australia jointly hosted the first edition of the Rugby World Cup in 1987.

Universal Sports and NBC Sports Broadcast Schedule: IRB Rugby World Cup 2015
Subject to Change – All Times Eastern

Sep. 18, 2015Opening Ceremony/England vs. Fiji2-5 p.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Sep. 20, 2015Samoa vs. USA7-9:30 a.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Sep. 27, 2015Scotland vs. USA9:30-12 p.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Oct. 7, 2015South Africa vs. USA11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Oct. 11, 2015USA vs. Japan3-5:30 p.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Oct. 24, 2015Semi-Final #13-6 p.m. SDDNBC
Oct. 25, 2015Semi-Final #211 a.m.-1:30 p.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Oct. 30, 2015Bronze Medal Match4-6:30 p.m. LIVEUniversal Sports
Oct. 31, 20152015 World Cup Final12-3 p.m. LIVENBC

About Universal Sports
Universal Sports Network, a partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, LP, is the premier multi-platform media destination for Olympic-related sports programming in the United States. Offering more than 1,200 hours of original programming each year, Universal Sports has exclusive rights to world and national championship events in a wide array of sports, including swimming, track and field, gymnastics, cycling, skiing, figure skating and rugby. Whether on television, online, or on the go with mobile and tablet applications, Universal Sports offers a four-screen experience to fans of global sports every day of the year. For more information, please visit UniversalSports.com.

About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of broadcast television, cable television, radio and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel, 12 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and all of their respective digital properties. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, Churchill Downs, Premier League, MLS, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.