World Rugby has announced the appointment of ESPN Latin America as exclusive South America rights-holding for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
The exciting deal also sees the appointment of ESPN Brazil as an exclusive Rugby World Cup rights-holder for the first time, underscoring the growing excitement around the sport ahead of rugby sevens’ debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Under the terms of the deal, ESPN Latin America and ESPN Brazil will broadcast live coverage of at least 16 matches and will also deliver a comprehensive TV, digital, mobile and radio offering, delivering an unprecedented broadcast footprint for rugby in South America. Matches will be broadcast across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with ESPN Latin America to broadcast the next two Rugby World Cups and welcoming ESPN Brazil as an exclusive Rugby World Cup broadcaster for the first time.
"This two-tournament deal certainly reflects rugby’s stature as a major growth sport in South America thanks to the ongoing success of Rugby World Cup and rugby sevens’ inclusion in the Olympic Games. ESPN Latin America and ESPN Brazil shares our passion for rugby and I am sure that their extensive coverage of England 2015 will reach out and inspire new audiences and participants across the region."
World Rugby Head of Commercial, Broadcast and Marketing Murray Barnett added: "We are delighted to continue our long-term partnership with the leading sports channel network in Latin America who have shown such a strong commitment to innovation and the sport of rugby."
Guillermo Tabanera, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ESPN Latin America, said: "ESPN has uninterruptedly aired the Rugby World Cup in Spanish-speaking Latin America since 1999. It is an honour for us to have the RWC once more on our platforms."
German Hartenstein, Managing Director, ESPN Brazil, said: "We have seen a dramatic spike in rugby’s popularity since we began airing the Rugby World Cup on ESPN in Brazil in 2003. We are committed to supporting the sport and to showing Brazilian fans where to find the best of world rugby."
ESPN Latin America and ESPN Brazil’s addition to a strong global portfolio of Rugby World Cup 2015 rights-holding broadcasters is a further boost to an event that is on track to be a record-breaking global celebration of rugby and the host nation, beginning on 18 September and concluding with the final on 31 October.
The tournament will feature two South American teams for the first time since 2003, with Uruguay claiming a place through the repechage to join Argentina at the world’s premier rugby event.