The Rugby Channel Debuts, Looks To Make Inroads In US Market
// The Drum// Doug Zanger

As the sports broadcast landscape changes, another player has emerged in the over-the-top television (OTT) space. The Rugby Channel launched today with an eye to bringing one of the world’s most popular sports closer to the US audience.

OMNIGON, a digital services firm that works in sports and entertainment, was tapped to develop the platform. The project is part of Rugby International Marketing’s effort to raise the profile of the sport.

“We are excited about the launch of The Rugby Channel and are glad to have worked with OMNIGON on its design and development,” said Nigel Melville, CEO of Rugby International Marketing. “They have done excellent, ground-breaking work for us on The Rugby Channel’s website and apps. We are confident that American rugby fans will enjoy using the new platform and having unprecedented access to the best in domestic and international rugby programming.”

The first phase, on iOS, Android and at TheRugbyChannel.tv is complete — and the second phase will launch on advanced platforms this June. The OTT platform will include both free and premium content offerings and users will be able to stream live matches, get real-time play-by-play and head-to-head match stats, view archived match videos, share across social, and receive custom content on their favorite clubs. The Rugby Channel will be available through monthly or yearly subscription options.

OMNIGON has deep experience in the sport, having developed the official 2015 Rugby World Cup mobile app — and the company sees significant opportunity to generate more buzz around the sport in what is traditionally considered more niche to an audience that is fed a consistent diet of the NFL, NBA and college sports.

“Interest in rugby in the United States has never been higher coming off of last year’s Rugby World Cup, the Eagles’ semi-final appearance at the Rugby 7’s last month, and the Olympics this summer,” said David Nugent, chief commercial officer at OMNIGON. “We look forward to capitalizing on this by working with the USA Rugby team to drive engagement of current rugby fans and ignite interest from new fans leveraging The Rugby Channel.”

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