- NBC Sports Group to present more than 300 hours of HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series programming annually
- Women’s series commences in Glendale, Colorado on 5-6 October
- Men’s series commences in Dubai, UAE on 5-7 December
- Los Angeles confirmed as new host venue on men’s circuit in 2020
- Rugby sevens will make its second appearance on the Olympic Games programme at Tokyo 2020
- Audience of nine million viewed NBC coverage of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco
World Rugby and NBC Sports Group have announced a four-year partnership which will see the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series presented across NBC Sports platforms in the USA from 2020-2023 inclusive.
NBC will provide more than 300 hours of programming annually across NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app.
Coverage will also be available to fans with a digital subscription through NBC Sports Gold — NBC Sports Group’s premium-subscription product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 will commence on 5-6 October 2019 in Glendale, Colorado with the opening tournament of the women’s series, which increases to eight rounds for the first time in history.
Earlier this month World Rugby announced that the men’s competition, which will be contested across ten rounds and begins in Dubai on 5-7 December, will once again travel to the United States where it will be hosted in Los Angeles.
The move from Las Vegas will see the two-day event return to the home stadium of the MLS side, LA Galaxy and the NFL's LA Chargers, Dignity Health Sports Park in California - the same venue earmarked to host rugby sevens in the LA 2028 Olympic Games.
Independent Nielsen research has found USA to have the highest proportion of rugby fans worldwide with more than 33 million people who are either ‘interested or very interested’ in the sport, demonstrating the huge potential for the growth of rugby in the USA.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, which was hosted in San Francisco, saw more than 100,000 fans attend the three-day event at AT&T Park, setting a new attendance record for a rugby event held in the USA.
As host broadcaster of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, NBC confirmed that the tournament was the most watched live rugby cast in the USA on record, with coverage reaching nine million viewers across five telecasts and finals day coverage averaging 1.365 million viewers.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “After a hugely successful Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco last year, attended by over 100,000 fans, the popularity of rugby sevens is growing rapidly in the United States and we look forward to the opportunities that working with NBC Sports Group will bring in continuing to reach new audiences in this important market over the next four years.”
NBC Sports and NBCSN President of Programming, Jon Miller added: “We are excited to once again present the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. As we head into an Olympic year, this partnership with World Rugby allows us to add to our portfolio of the most marquee rugby events in the world and help grow the sport both domestically and internationally.”
Following its successful introduction at Rio 2016, rugby sevens will make its second appearance on the Olympic Games programme at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which will be produced by NBC Sports Group in the United States.
The 2019 series acted as the principal qualification route for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the men’s and women’s teams finishing in the top four earning automatic qualification. To date, eight men’s and seven women’s teams have qualified for Tokyo as the regional qualification competitions continue before the last places are decided at the Olympic repechage tournament scheduled to take place in June 2020.