Strong Sevens Ratings Boost NBC Rugby Hopes

August 13, 2018

NBC Sports is looking ahead eagerly to covering the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year after revealing that its U.S. coverage of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens from AT&T Park in San Francisco last month reached nearly 9 million viewers across five telecasts on NBC and NBCSN. The exposure on the main network averaged a total audience of 1.365 million viewers for what is believed to be the most-watched live rugby telecast on record in the U.S.

Live coverage of the championship final July 22 in which New Zealand defeated England averaged 370,000 viewers. Streaming coverage across NBC Sports’ digital platforms delivered 1.7 million live minutes and 36,000 unique users.

NBC Sports / NBCSN President Jon Miller said: “We’re proud of how well received our coverage was in San Francisco and look forward to presenting the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 and rugby sevens at the Olympics from Tokyo in 2020.”

NBC Sports’ coverage of the Rugby World Cup Sevens is part of a multi-year agreement with World Rugby, which includes media rights on all platforms and in all languages to the Rugby World Cups in 2019 and 2023; the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021; the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2022; and the annual World Rugby U20 Championships through 2023. NBC Sports’ robust rugby portfolio also includes exclusive Olympic rugby coverage through 2032, the Six Nations Championship, and Premiership Rugby.

Overall, NBC Sports presented more than 30 hours of live Rugby World Cup Sevens coverage across NBC, NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, and NBC Sports Gold.