Major League Rugby Launches The Rugby Network
MLR releases free streaming platform in conjunction with RugbyPass to serve as the home of all MLR matches and content
DALLAS (March 16, 2021) – Major League Rugby (MLR) has launched a free streaming and digital content network, The Rugby Network, in advance of the 2021 MLR season, which kicks off March 20. MLR collaborated with RugbyPass, to create The Rugby Network, the first of its kind in North America, providing fans with a single destination for all their rugby content needs, including live streaming of select Major League Rugby matches, international matches, highlights, and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. RugbyPass’ breadth of content and capabilities in building audiences and engagement made them the obvious choice of MLR to work together on The Rugby Network.
“The Rugby Network provides rugby fans access to high-quality content for free as well as generates awareness of the sport to create the next generation of fans,” said George Killebrew, Major League Rugby Commissioner. “The Rugby Network will be an exciting development for MLR and North American rugby as a whole. We are looking forward to working with RugbyPass to launch this platform that will be the definitive home for rugby fans across North America.”
To support the growth of rugby across the United States and Canada, MLR is spearheading the creation of a centralized digital platform with its league, teams, and players as the heart of the network. Leveraging RugbyPass’ content and network to develop closer relationships with all fans of the sport is vitally important and part of a long-term commitment by MLR. The live stream of matches, and the future expansion to all over-the-top devices, will be made possible through the ViewLift platform, a leading end-to-end digital solutions partner to sports leagues and media companies around the world.
It is expected that rugby’s popularity in North America will increasingly grow over the coming years with younger audiences openly seeking “non-traditional” sports content. Research indicates that 56 percent of Millennial and Gen-Z sports fans in North America believe that non-traditional sports are more relevant to their generation. The Rugby Network will cater to younger demographics as well as existing fans reaching across OTT and social media platforms.
An estimated 1.3 million people participate in rugby in North America, with a further 8.8 million active fans – a number set to increase fourfold over the next decade. It’s also expected that bids will be made to host the Rugby World Cup very soon.
“We share a joint vision with MLR to create a community of rugby fans and remove the hurdles they face across North America by providing them with the best news, highlights, podcasts, live matches and live blog feeds,” said Neil Martin, Global CEO at RugbyPass. “The Rugby Network will be an interconnected network of digital properties that will drive both interest and engagement with rugby. Our goal is to create an inclusive platform with MLR
that will bring together and expand North America’s rugby community and also serve the international rugby fans.”
Fans are encouraged to visit www.TheRugbyNetwork.com for exclusive rugby content, and to stream MLR matches. Beginning with MLR’s opening weekend, four matches will be streamed live to North American audiences, with all six matches available for replay. Overseas fans can stream all MLR matches live. All MLR tune-in information is available at https://www.majorleague.rugby/schedules/.
The Rugby Network live streaming schedule for MLR opening day on Saturday, March 20 is: • San Diego Legion v Rugby United New York @ 6pm ET
- LA Giltinis v New England Free Jacks @ 6:30pm ET
- Rugby ATL v Toronto Arrows @ 7pm ET (in Canada available on TSN) • Austin Gilgronis v Utah Warriors @ 8pm ET
Elon Werner, Tony Fay PR, Tel: 214-244-1184, [email protected]
Sammy Altman, RugbyPass, Tel: 01423 611 130, [email protected]
Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby is a professional sports league entering its fourth season on March 20, 2021 and represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The League evolved from seven teams in 2018 to 12 teams in 2021, featuring 11 from the United States and one from Canada. Matches are televised on CBS Sports Network, FS1 and FS2, among other national and local market platforms. Select matches are available to stream live in North America on The Rugby Network, and all matches are available on The Rugby Network for international fans. MLR prides itself in fostering intense and high-stakes competition, while bringing together a passionate community built on the values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition. For more information about MLR, visit www.MajorLeague.Rugby.
Owned by Sky Sport NZ, RugbyPass.com is the largest rugby content destination in the world, producing over 2,000 pieces of content every month across our portfolio of channels and social pages. We have a global team of writers, video producers, and creators who live and breathe the world of rugby every day, bringing to life breaking news, compelling behind-the-scenes documentaries, podcasts, viral videos, and analytics.
We cover age-grade rugby through to the elite game and everything in between, our mission being to lead the way in our scale and breadth of coverage in rugby.
ViewLift is a full-service global digital content distribution platform empowering media companies, sports leagues and teams, and others to monetize their content through native branded apps on major OTT devices including web, mobile, TV-connected devices, Smart TVs and gaming consoles. ViewLift’s founding team brings decades of domain experience as an operator (not just a technology provider) and strong industry relationships across the digital ecosystem, understanding each device’s unique requirements and best practices. ViewLift offers clients a range of monetization models on a proprietary platform with advanced analytics, tracking performance in real-time. ViewLift is backed by leading VC firms, including New Enterprise Associates and Comcast Ventures, as well as tech, sports and media pioneers Ted Leonsis, Steve and Jean Case and others. ViewLift clients include: Monumental Sports Network; Professional Fighters League; Universal Kids; Outdoor TV; SuperCross; TEGNA; Nexstar; and RugbyPass.
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