FloSports acquires USA Rugby's OTT channel
By Jonathan Rest
FloSports, the USA-based live streaming subscription sports service, has made its most significant acquisition to date, after today announcing a deal to buy the Rugby Channel, the over-the-top digital channel, ultimately owned by USA Rugby, the sport's domestic governing body.
The Rugby Channel was launched two years ago by Rugby International Marketing, the commercial subsidiary of USA Rugby, that was established in 2015 with financial assistance from England’s Rugby Football Union.
The acquisition is effective immediately and gives FloSports access to stream 51 competitions and 200 matches annually on FloRugby.com, which launched early last year.
To date FloRugby.com has offered news and analysis and studio shows, with an emphasis on high school and college teams, but this is a significant boost to its portfolio.
For the remainder of 2018, FloSports will stream all matches of the USA and England national teams, as well as France's Top 14, the PRO 14, which involves clubs from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and South Africa, the Anglo Welsh Cup, Singha 7s and the top women's league in England.
It already holds rights to next month's clash between Wales and South Africa in Washington DC, and a number of sevens tournaments around USA.
Mark Floreani, co-founder and chief operating officer of FloSports, said: “Rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, and this deal allows us to elevate the coverage of the sport to new heights. We want to provide fans a platform to connect with and follow their favourite athletes and teams, and to discover more live rugby than they’ve ever had access to.”
Pam Kosanke, chief executive of RIM, added: “We are thrilled to partner with FloSports in taking USA Rugby programming and properties to the next level. This move exposes rugby to a broader community of passionate sports fans who view digital streaming as their first screen choice.”
Under the terms of the acquisition, the accounts of existing Rugby Channel subscribers will be automatically transferred to a FloRugby PRO subscription at no additional cost.
FloSports operates a number of specific sports channels, covering basketball, MMA, American football, wrestling, athletics, gymnastics and cycling.
In recent months it has acquired rights to European club basketball’s top-tier EuroLeague in a two-season deal and motor racing’s World Rallycross Championship.