Major League Rugby Announce Telecast Agreement with AT&T Sports Networks
AT&T SportsNet and ROOT SPORTS to broadcast 17 MLR games in local markets
SALT LAKE CITY (April 5, 2018) – Major League Rugby (MLR) today announced a broadcast agreement with AT&T Sports Networks for MLR’s inaugural season, launching April 2018. The deal completes MLR’s comprehensive distribution package, providing American rugby fans access to all matches.
AT&T Sports Networks will carry a 17-game package with rights to six MLR teams including Austin, Houston and NOLA on AT&T SportsNet -Southwest region. ROOT SPORTS in the Northwest will carry Seattle matches and AT&T SportsNet -Rocky Mountain region will host Glendale and Utah games. San Diego will have a separate local rights agreement for their market.
The networks will televise home and away broadcasts of all games except the MLR Game of the Week, playoffs and championship match, which will air on CBS Sports Network. MLR programming will run in prime weekend time slots on Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings on the networks.
MLR is building sustainable fanbases in rugby communities through coverage of every regular and postseason match. The regional telecasts are an important step in contributing to this objective of every game being broadcast to television and streamed online.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with AT&T Sports Networks,” said MLR Commissioner Dean Howes. “This key addition to our media plan combined with other telecast deals gives rugby fans access to match coverage from any location. We are thrilled that audiences everywhere will witness the progress of American rugby firsthand with us.”
Major League Rugby will launch with seven teams in 2018 including Austin, Houston, Glendale (Colorado), New Orleans, San Diego, Seattle and Salt Lake City (Utah). Additionally, New York has joined as an associate member for 2018 commencing regular season play in 2019. Each market has a long history of support for the game of rugby. The members have strong local and civic-minded ownership groups with deep ties to their communities and have established grassroots programs, venues in place or in development, and a player pool featuring the best players in North America, reinforced by up to five international signings in the 15-player, Rugby Union format.
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MLR is a professional rugby league that will launch in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR will be the pinnacle of the American rugby, and provide a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes.