New Major League Rugby completes domestic broadcast picture
Major League Rugby, the new rugby union competition in USA that gets under way later this month, has struck a broadcast deal with AT&T SportsNet, the group of regional sports networks ultimately owned by telecoms giant AT&T.
The package includes 17 regular-season games involving six of the seven MLR teams, and completes the distribution deal for the league, which runs from 21 April to 7 July.
AT&T SportsNet-Southwest region will show matches involving the teams from Austin, Houston and New Orleans, while affiliate Root Sports in the northwest will carry Seattle matches.
AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain region will carry Glendale and Utah games.
MLR had already agreed a local TV deal with YurView California, owned by Cox Communications, covering the matches of the San Diego team.
The regional networks will televise home and away broadcasts of all games except 10 MLR 'Games of the Week', two play-offs and the championship match, all of which will air on CBS Sports Network, the national broadcaster’s cable sports channel, as a result of a deal that was signed late last year.
MLR programming will run in prime weekend time slots on Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings on the networks.
Dean Howes, commissioner of MLR, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with AT&T Sports Networks. 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.”
CBS' 13-game deal was announced in November, and two weeks ago MLR signed another rights deal with ESPN, the US sports broadcaster, for the other 18 regular-season games to be aired on ESPN’s national and international platforms.