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Rugby World Cup to Make US Network TV Debut

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The International Rugby Board has awarded NBC Sports and Universal Sports the exclusive rights to broadcast the 2011 Rugby World Cup matches in New Zealand and the 2015 tournament in England on US network television.

The deal 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 that will ensure unprecedented television and digital media coverage in the United States of all 48 matches from Rugby's premier event.

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 on Universal Sports' website and mobile platforms.

Universal Sports' and NBC Sports' match coverage will feature a studio pre-match show, halftime and post-match reaction and all the action will be broadcast in high definition.

IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller said, "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."

Universal Sports Chief Executive Officer David Sternberg added, "This is a very significant rights acquisition for Universal Sports, especially given the growing popularity of Rugby around the world and in America. We are delighted to be partnering with the IRB for the Rugby World Cup and other top events, and we look forward to showcasing global Rugby, at its highest level, for our audiences across all of our platforms - television, online and mobile."

Universal Sports also broadcast the US College Sevens and the Churchill Cup this year, bringing Rugby to the attention of more sports fans across the US than ever before.

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