Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

Limelight To Oversee Grand Prix’s Online Content, NZ Confirm Participation

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 28,2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Grand Prix Entertainment, a diversified multimedia production and distribution company that owns and manages sports, entertainment and gaming properties, announced today that Limelight Networks (Nasdaq:LLNW), a global leader in digital presence management will implement the Grand Prix Studios Network (GPSN), which will broadcast the Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship online and in real time.

Committed to world-class entertainment on and off the field, GPSN, in partnership with Olympic member USA Rugby, will present the 2013 Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship. The world’s richest Sevens Championship in history will host 24 World Cup caliber international teams, including New Zealand, England, Australia, South Africa, China, India, Russia and the United States. The teams will play 60 games over three days for a world record purse of U.S. $1,000,000.

The event is scheduled to take place on July 14-16, 2013, in Los Angeles at the AEG Home Depot Center, broadcast live on the NFL Network.

“This is a fabulous day for Grand Prix,” said William Tatham, Chairman and CEO of Grand Prix Entertainment. “Working with Limelight Networks is the final piece in building a wholly-owned global digital network that provides world class sports and Hollywood entertainment to an existing worldwide audience. We’re excited that the Grand Prix Studios Network will come to fruition with Limelight.”

“Grand Prix Entertainment sought to be independent of existing sports leagues and broadcast networks, by acquiring rights to world class sport events. Working with Limelight, Grand Prix Entertainment can broadcast these events across an equally world class digital network, capable of delivering sports and entertainment products everywhere,” said Tatham.

Leveraging the benefits of Limelight’s world-class infrastructure, GPSN can scale as demand for content increases while continuing to deliver a high-quality experience for all viewers.

“Limelight is excited to power GPSN’s online digital presence, including live video streaming, website design and web content management, for what will be the largest rugby event worldwide,” said Jeff Freund, Vice President and General Manager,web content management, Limelight Networks. “With our Orchestrate Digital Presence Platform, we look forward to giving rugby fans all over the world immediate access to these games anytime, anywhere, and on any device.”

“We are proud to leverage Limelight Networks to launch our first Grand Prix Studios Network channel online,” said Jeffrey Zimmerman, Grand Prix’s Chief Technology Officer. “Limelight’s expertise and cutting-edge platform give us an advantage in delivering HD-quality streams and creating a unique and innovative viewing experience to any desktop, tablet or mobile device.”

Steve Tew, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union, states, “We’re thrilled to be involved in the world’s richest Sevens championship in history. It’s exciting to be on the ground floor of a tournament that we think will be hugely beneficial for the development of the game worldwide, particularly in the United States. Gordon Tietjens will ensure we send a competitive team that will include members of the All Blacks Sevens as well as some very exciting new talent. We see this as a huge opportunity to deepen the pool of talent we have available so it certainly fits with our strategy of ensuring our men’s team will be in the Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship.”

“With Grand Prix now owning the multimedia rights to both world class rugby Sevens and indoor volleyball championships, we will offer global markets live, pay-per-view access to our multi menu of sports and entertainment products,” said Gary Marenzi, Grand Prix Studio’s CEO and former President of both Paramount and MGM Worldwide Television.

GRAND PRIX RUGBY SEVENS CHAMPIONSHIP. In partnership with USA Rugby, Grand Prix Sports presents the Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship which will feature 24 World Cup caliber teams playing 60 games over 3 days for a prize of $1,000,000 – The richest Sevens tournament in history. Bringing professional rugby Sevens to the US market and back to The Home Depot Center as Grand Prix Rugby’s partner and Flagship venue is a thrill for the AEG Home Depot Center Group.


ABOUT GRAND PRIX ENTERTAINMENT. Grand Prix Entertainment is a diversified multimedia production and distribution company that owns and manages sports, entertainment and gaming properties.


ABOUT LIMELIGHT NETWORKS. Limelight Networks,Inc. (Nasdaq:LLNW) is a global leader in Digital Presence Management. Limelight’s Orchestrate Digital Presence Platform is an integrated suite of cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, which allows organizations to optimize all aspects of their online digital presence across web, mobile, social, and large screen channels. Orchestrate leverages Limelight’s scalable,high-performance global network to offer advanced features for: web content management; website personalization; content targeting; online video publishing; mobile enablement and monetization; content delivery; transcoding; and cloud storage —combined with social media integration and powerful analytics. Limelight’s team of digital presence experts helps organizations streamline processes and optimize business results across all customer interaction channels to deliver exceptional multi-screen experiences, improve brand awareness, drive revenue, and enhance their customer relationships —all while reducing costs. For more information, please visit , Follow us on Twitter at


19 comments on “Limelight To Oversee Grand Prix’s Online Content, NZ Confirm Participation

  1. Grant A Cole
    January 1, 2013

    Well, so much for no independent confirmations! With NZ in the lead and a broadcasting network, other confirmations shouldn’t be too far behind. Given the structure of our 7s Academies, dare we hope for the Falcons, a Serevi select-side, a Tiger select-side, and a Glendale side to make up the four US teams? T’would make some sort of sense.

    • Phill NZ
      January 1, 2013

      Will Americans take to a Falcon,Tiger, Serevi team??I think not , I believe if there is American teams, best for your non rugby Americans to give them State or City names to get some following and support. Do it the way American sports are done , that’s the difference between US and the rest of the world.

      • Grant A Cole
        January 1, 2013

        Phill, It is possible that the teams will be given city names. But consider this:

        1) The agreement between USA Rugby and GPR.
        2) The USA Rugby 7s Development Academies structure.
        3) This competition will be broadcast online & not (yet) on established cable or satellite media providers.
        4) The organizations involved in the 7s Development Academies will be the only ones in the US with the appropriate level of 7s coaching expertise combined with the talent (make no mistake, the serious 7s talent in the US will migrate to the academies) to compete at the level that GPR should draw.

        Thus, the four US teams will likely come from the sources I’ve named (although further insight leads me to think that it will be the 7s Eagles, not the Falcons, competing). I’m not sure of your locale, but in the US, Glendale (RugbyTown USA), Tiger Rugby & Serevi are recognizable and well-established rugby brands among rugby fans. The purpose of the 7s Development Academies is to put their players on the pitch against international competition. GPR offers just that. USA Rugby cannot afford to miss the opportunity to put the academy players in action against international teams with a home field advantage.

        Brilliant move scheduling this a week after US V Ireland in Houston, TX. Rugby fans on the West Coast are eager to prove to USA Rugby that they can put butts in seats just as well as Texas can. If we can put 60K fans in stadiums over the course of 2 consecutive weekends, a broadcaster other than NBC might take notice. THAT would be a much better takeaway from those weekends than anything else!

        • Phill NZ
          January 1, 2013

          Hi Grant I have been reading and watching rugby grow in the States. I have always wondered how do you spread the word of rugby?I am fan of Americanization of developing a brand. You only have a limited chance to show your product. Here is four ideas to develop the Brand.
          1 Secure route to market TV/Satellite,Fox, NBC , internet is a by product of TV.
          2 Branding , Americans are not interested in Academies , NY LA , Utah, Texas its who they ID with,How many American teams that are based in cities that actually have locals in them. No matter how you or what you want to call a team Americans love there State and Cities.
          3. $$$ .Put a dollar value and they will come.
          4.Convert rugby terms to American equivalent American sporting terminology. We down here are using US terms like sacked , offensive , defensive patterns, and use techniques developed from American football that people in the States will understand.
          Remember to preach to those who don’t follow , they are your emerging market , rugby fans in the US will follow at a drop of a hat , its the rest that you are after. Both USA Rugby and GPR have to work with each other , its in both parties interest one to spread the game and one to make money. I am really looking forward to this and wish both parties a successful outcome.

        • Grant A Cole
          January 1, 2013

          Phill, You and I seem to be conversing out of context. You seem to be taking the long view (which I am accused of doing far too much). I am talking about just what will be done this year at the inaugural GPR competition (such is out of character for me).

          Your ideas about growing rugby stateside are spot-on. We will likely use similar models to grow the game down the road. To be sure, USA 7s LLC is implementing very similar ideas in their CRC competition (College/university brands tend to be geographical).

          The ODP Academies are in their infancy, but have been long in the planning. Were I to prognosticate about their futures, I could suppose city/state identities may be assigned (Seattle, Chicago and San Diego (Serevi), Long Beach & Columbus (Emerging Tigers), and Glendale Raptors, and eventually others as listed in the article from 22.12.2012).

      • Tony
        January 8, 2013

        It’s not too hard to apply “American-style” names to these academy teams. Call them the Glendale Raptors, Belmont Shore Tigers, Seattle Kings, and the Chula Vista Falcons.

        However, it’s starting to look like a full-on international tournament. They have 24 nations listed now instead of 21 (20 + USA’s 4 teams)

  2. Phill NZ
    January 1, 2013

    Geez this is new for some one like Steve Tew to endorse and send NZ AIG All Black sevens team. Generally kiwi’s are conservative This is going to be huge. Can’t wait , i enjoy the American attitude to broadcasting and the excitement it ill bring.

  3. RugbyAmerica
    January 1, 2013

    I think Kenya confirmed participation on Twitter a few weeks back, but NZ confirming is a big deal. Probably why it was plugged into a press release that really had nothing to do with the participating teams. Seems like it would have been a better stand alone release. Regardless, perhaps now that NZ has confirmed, more unions will publically confirm.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what Limelight comes up with. They were also responsible for all of the online content and streaming for the Olympics. Getting the streaming content right will be important for something like Grand Prix. Their deal with the NFL Network is great for the American fans, but the rest of the world will need a way to see the tournament.

    As far as the American teams go, I think they will be hard pressed to fill four American teams without using the players and coaches that make up our National Team and Academy system. It is easy enough to call them the Los Angeles Tigers or New York Eggchasers or whatever they like. This should be a good opportunity to start building our extended player pool and seeing where they stand against IRB level competition.

    Agreed on the attendance. Texas has come up big in recent years and they have the Houston 7’s and then the Ireland match this year. Finding a “go to” spot has always been an issue for USA Rugby. They’ve tried so many different places and Texas was really the place that stood up and made everyone take notice. They put butts in the seats and earned more opportunities. For ages, California has told everyone that they are the best place to hold test matches and events, but their attendance numbers haven’t jumped off the page. The Grand Prix event could be a good chance for California to really turn out. I know that GPR is targeting 50,000+ attendance for the three day event, so they need the rugby community to turn out and then some.

    We know Las Vegas is going to keep on their upward trend and push towards 70,000 for the weekend. If the CRC, Ireland test match and then Grand Prix have good turnouts, we will have had not one well attended event, but 3-4 in the same year. Putting up numbers at Las Vegas each year is great, but if it can be replicated multiple times in the same year then it becomes a trend and not an isolated event.

    If America wants professional rugby, then fans need to turn out for these events. If you can’t be there in person, then support them in any way possible. Watch it on TV, buy merchandise… whatever you can do. This is one situation where we can vote with our pocketbooks.

    • Robert
      January 3, 2013

      If the GPR want a big attendance they better start promoting the tournament….the galaxy and chivas usa fans would be a good start.

      I wonder why they disclosed the owner of the New York franchise over a year ago but none of the other American teams?

    • Mike Holzman
      January 7, 2013

      The problem with tests in California is that they haven’t held one in the most obvious city for rugby: Sacramento. That is the 18th largest metropolitan area (metro population is 2.4 million) in the US and it has only one franchise from 1 (soon to be none) of the big 4 pro sports leagues and no major college sports. It is easily the least saturated sports market in the US and it also happens to be a hotbed of rugby with numerous current and past Eagles being from Sacramento. It’s insane that USA Rugby has never held a test there.

  4. RugbyAmerica
    January 3, 2013

    I’ve heard that AEG is going to be putting in a massive push in California. AEG has ties with American Express and I heard that they are going to be using that for inside marketing of the event to AMEX customers in the California.

  5. Pingback: Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship Set for July | star sport

  6. Grant A Cole
    January 9, 2013

    RM published an article about GPR today. Interesting quote from Melville.

    “[We will] probably have four teams in there. Alex Magleby will select four teams that will represent us, and we’re hoping to do those possibly regionally,” Melville said.

    • RugbyAmerica
      January 9, 2013

      Thanks for the heads up on the article. Interesting read. I’m interested to see how it all plays out. If we’re getting regional sides, then there is going to be a real good chance the academies will come into play. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind if GPR got their wish and brought in some NFL practice squad guys to have a go.

  7. Robert
    January 14, 2013


    Will the proposed GPR series over lap the IRB world series and domestic club season?

  8. RugbyAmerica
    January 14, 2013


    Yes. I don’t see how it wouldn’t. As a development tool for players outside of the national team, I think it can work fine running alongside the IRB World Series. That is, as long as they avoid scheduling tournaments on the same weekends as IRB events. Sort of like an ongoing national team trial series. Ideally, domestic tournaments would preclude selections for the IRB series.

    How it fits into the domestic competitive season for both 7’s and 15’s will be open to debate. It will all depend on how many specialist 7’s players are created in the next couple of years. As we get closer to the Olympics, I’m betting we’ll see fewer players toggling 7’s and 15’s so it may have little real effect on domestic 15’s.

    • Robert
      January 14, 2013

      I thought so. I am still a proponent of a Fall 7s season. Having said that the IRB World Series stretches from November to May. On top of that there has been an ongoing discussion about the USA 7s program having the money to send the players to elite 7s tournaments in between the IRB WS. So if we cannot send the players to other tournaments bring other top teams to our tournament.

      On a side note are there plans for the ODT Academies to have their own 7s series and will that be in the Fall?

  9. Pingback: Grand Prix Rugby Sevens Championship Set for July | star sport

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This entry was posted on December 31, 2012 by in Club Sevens, International Rugby, Rugby News.

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