In terms of rugby on television in the United States things are considerably better than they were ten years ago. You no longer have to go to a bar and pay an exorbitant cover charge to watch the Rugby Championships or Six Nations on television (although watching a match with your mates may be a good enough reason alone to head to the pub). Instead, these matches are readily available on cable. Better yet, rather than getting one match you get to watch almost all the matches in the competition.
On the domestic front, five of the six Eagles matches this last year were shown on television. Additionally, the Las Vegas 7’s and the Collegiate Rugby Championship have turned into big events with full coverage from NBC. This year, even more events will be on television, beginning this weekend with the Houston 7’s. Not only will the Las Vegas 7’s and CRC be back with more television exposure than before, but the Grand Prix 7’s is scheduled to air on the NFL Network.
Still, things could get better. Universal Sports, where most of the Eagles and IRB Sevens Series matches are found and where replays of the Six Nations will be aired, is not the most readily accessible channel. Neither is the Super Rugby package on DirectTV. ESPN3, the online sports channel, had the rights to the Top 14, but no longer do. The quality of the broadcasts could improve as well. Things should be better in the future however as more and more people are tuning into rugby in this country.
Currently the best place to watch rugby in Fox Soccer Plus, which has the rights to the Aviva Premiership, RaboDirect Pro12, Heineken Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup, and the LV= Cup. It consistently shows multiple games a week in a good format. However, things may be about to change as Fox has hinted at changes to its sports channels coming as early as this fall. According to several reports Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus will cease to exist and instead will be branded together with Speed and Fuel to create Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.
Rugby was never the biggest sport on the Fox network. In fact, coverage was often overshadowed by random soccer matches that pushed rugby coverage to weird times of the day. However, in the last few years Fox has lost the rights to the English Premier League and Major League Soccer. This has dramatically reduced the number of soccer matches available to cover over two networks. They also recently lost auto racing rights as well. All put together it makes sense that Fox combine all their coverage.
But what will happen to rugby? Certainly the sport will feel the squeeze, but with so many properties lost over the last few years Fox Sports may need to rely more on rugby than they have in the past. Most of the soccer rights have been taken up by other networks, as have college sports. Overall, this will be a good thing for rugby. Speed has a much better distribution that Fox Soccer Plus, meaning that more and more homes will be exposed to the sport. Certainly changes will be made in the amount of coverage rugby receives, but the core of the sport should remain intact.
No matter what happens with rugby on Fox Sports, the simple fact that more and more people in this country are tuning into the sport can only been seen as a positive.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.