Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced a rights agreement with ESPN to show archive matches and footage from the history of the Rugby World Cup, from each of the six Rugby World Cup tournaments to date on ESPN Classic in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The content will be featured on the channel in the coming months and will continue in the run-up to Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, and beyond.
Available on the Sky and Virgin Media platforms, ESPN Classic is now able to select 40 hours of content per year, until 2013, from the entire Rugby World Cup archive including magazine programmes, Official Films, as well as both long and short form match footage. Access to the Rugby World Cup 2011 library will be available to be broadcast on ESPN Classic from May 2012.
“With appetite and interest in Rugby across the world increasing, we are delighted to be able to offer the most comprehensive coverage of the Rugby World Cup to our viewers,” said Jeroen Oerlemans, ESPN, Vice President, TV Channels Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“We’ll soon be counting down to the 2011 tournament in New Zealand with great anticipation and what better way than to relive some of the greatest moments and players in Rugby Union’s rich history than with the Official Films and match footage, helping us deliver a first class Rugby archive.”
Mike Miller, RWCL Managing Director, added: “This deal will benefit Rugby as a whole and the partnership with ESPN will extend the reach and interest in the Game beyond the core audiences throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Opening up the Rugby World Cup archive to a global broadcaster will allow viewers to relive the special moments from each Rugby World Cup to date.”
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