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Monday, September 14, 2015

Universal Sports Announces RWC Pay-Per-View Options

Press Release

LOS ANGELES (September 14, 2015) – Universal Sports Network, the year-round destination for Olympic, endurance and action sports programming, announced today agreements with DIRECTV, DISH, iN DEMAND and VUBIQUITY which make all Rugby World Cup 2015 matches available on residential TV pay-per-view through satellite, cable and IPTV providers nationwide. The deals, executed separately with the leading PPV companies, allow fans the ability to purchase matches through all major TV providers in the U.S.

In addition to nine televised matches on Universal Sports and NBC, all 48 Rugby World Cup matches will be available via TV and digital PPV. Individual matches start at $27.95 per game while package availability varies per provider. All matches purchased for PPV will be available both live and on-demand. For complete details, viewers should contact their TV provider directly.

Take the jump to read more.

In addition to television PPV, live streaming and on-demand access to all of the six-week tournament’s 48 matches will be available exclusively through the previously announced WatchRWC2015 over-the-top platform in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The service will be available via the web on desktop and mobile devices from a single online destination, as well as select connected TV, iOS and Android apps. Details can be found by visiting UniversalSports.com/WatchRugby.

“The options to watch this year’s Rugby World Cup in the United States are unprecedented,” said Scott Brown, president of Universal Sports Network. “Through our broadcast coverage and extensive pay-per-view program, Universal Sports is ensuring that fans can enjoy all of the action from England 2015 and follow their favorite teams on whichever platform they choose.”

From September 18 through October 31, 2015, Universal Sports and NBC Sports will broadcast nine of the tournament’s 48 matches.  Universal Sports kicks off coverage on Friday, September 18 at 2 p.m. ET with the Opening Ceremony, followed by the opening match between host country England and Fiji. Universal Sports will broadcast LIVE coverage of seven matches including all of Team USA’s matches in pool play. NBC will broadcast the October 24 semi-final match one week before LIVE coverage of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Final on Saturday, October 31 at 12 p.m. ET.

Universal Sports Network acquired multi-platform media rights to the Rugby World Cup in a multi-year deal with World Rugby (previously known as the IRB or 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 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.


  1. Anyone else remember the 1995 World Cup and how everything before the semifinals was on basic cable?

    Charging $200 for the whole tournament or $28 (???) for individual matches pretty much means that all but a few games will be seen only by hard-core fans. I'm sure World Rugby will make money from their TV deals, but this isn't really consistent with the idea of growing the game.

    1. As long as rugby remains a niche sport this is what we are going to get. The cost to air the programs simply will not be covered by selling advertisements. I'm willing to bet that the NFL generates more advertising dollars in a minute or two of ad's during the regular season than the RWC could generate if the whole thing was broadcast on cable or broadcast TV.

      It's also important to note that this is THE revenue generator for World Rugby and it is how World Rugby is able to support tournaments like the PNC and I suspect the upcoming Americans 6 Nations.

      When one takes that into consideration the circumstances are a bit more understandable. Should the WC final gain a strong share of viewers then it will help the long term cause of seeing games on TV here because the dollars can be generated by advertising sales. Similarly - if people DO buy the package Universal is selling then it may tell them that the revenue is there to bring more programming onto their cable outlet.

      Finally - it doesn't help that the tournament is wedged in with football season a well as the World Series. Networks can only devote so many hours to sports programming … so that too is a hinderance.

  2. Its the chicken or the egg problem, do windfall profits from ppv grow grassroots rugby, or widely available viewing options? The truth is right now it is one or the other, but if the sport is going to be long term viable it needs to grow to be both.

  3. it is a scam, I almost bought the monthly channel package that includes universal sports, who will transmit the 48 games, and my surprise yesterday was find universal sports available when I tune to the channel for the purchase, (I was very happy) but my surprise was greater when the next day, to retune the channel was no longer transmit all the games, because they were on PPV.

    I mean, my problem is no was the extra sports package that includes universal, my problem is how people take advantage of this event, and some of this people that probably buy it, hoping to see all the whole tournament , and today find out they must to pay more.
    how you guys expect make more popular rugby in this country? if you guys turn IRB W cup into something sumptuous and expensive each single game

    lest go Pumas, lest go Argentina

  4. $200 to be able to watch all 48 games is not too terrible if you are a hardcore fan and plan on watching say 20 or 30 games as I am. My problem is that the quality is absolute dog$hit.

    Video quality is terribly inconsistent. One moment it's HD, the next it looks like I'm watching it on an old snowy tv in 1987. And it's constantly stopping and getting stuck while you just get a spinning wheel onscreen. Experience wise this is about a $20 value, not $200.

    Universal has already refunded $15 to everyone who bought the package and I would not be surprised to see another refund before this is over. They should've partnered with MLB.tv and put out a decent product. As is, this is absolutely shameful.

    1. Indeed the feed is very bad. Triple worse during the knockouts. I've taken to radio feed from RWC app.

  5. This whole week the feed was terrible and i kept having to log back on and off i have kept a record of these glitches in your feed!!!! You have ruined an experience i have paid $200 for i kept up my end of the bargain you have not!!!
    I would like a refund for Fiji vs England, Samoa Vs South Africa, England Vs Wales, Australia vs Fiji, Scotland Vs Japan, New Zealand vs Argentina, New Zealand vs Namibia and Argentina vs Georgia!!!!!!!!
    Thats 8 games i have not been able to watch to completion because of a bad feed!!!!!!!

    Just so we are clear i would like a refund for these 8 matches please you did not deliver the service i paid for!!