Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Article courtesy of IRB.com
At the halfway stage in the 2010/11 season, the HSBC Sevens World Series is on track to break the record levels achieved last year in television broadcast.
During Samoa’s title-winning season of 2009/10, spanning December 2009 to May 2011, international television coverage for the World Series rose on the previous year’s high to over 3,500 hours across 35 broadcasters.
Over the first half of this 2010/11 season, comprising the four events in Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand and USA, figures published by the IRB’s television distribution partner Pro-Active Television indicate that there has been a 10% increase in live coverage so far this season – 550 hours compared with 500 at the same stage last year – as well as a 10% increase in delayed ‘as live’ coverage taken on tape.
In addition, the official highlights program is being aired in a wider range of territories such as India, China and Japan in Asia as well as on the continent’s Pan-Asian network Star; Russia, Italy, Israel and most recently Croatia are now broadcasting highlights in Europe and the show also continues to be carried inflight on four major airlines – Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and British Airways.
Arguably the most significant development this season has been in the USA, where coverage was aired for the first time on NBC and NBC Universal, reaching over 100 million homes in America live during the USA Sevens.
Only six years ago the total airtime for the World Series was 300 hours. This season’s coverage will amount to over 10 times that figure, underlining the considerable advances Rugby Sevens has made in the eyes of international broadcasters and the global sporting public.
In total the HSBC Sevens World Series is now watched in a record 140 countries in 15 languages with the potential reach likely to break the 400 million homes barrier for the first time this season.
The remaining four events this season will be played in Hong Kong (March 25-27th), Adelaide, Australia (April 2-3rd), London, England (May 21-22nd) and Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28-29th).