World Rugby enters into seven year partnership with NBC Sports Group

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NBC Sports Group has acquired exclusive U.S. media rights to show rugby's biggest events, including the Rugby World Cup and Women's Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Monday.

World Rugby said that the seven-year partnership would offer "an unprecedented platform for rugby to reach and engage more sports fans in a nation where the total fan-base has grown to more than 40 million."

Bill Beaumont, a former England captain and now chairman of World Rugby, welcomed the deal, describing the U.S. as "one of the fastest-growing markets for rugby participation and fan growth."

He went on to add that the agreement would "ensure that more people than ever before in the USA will be able to access the world's top men's and women's 15s and sevens events."

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper described the U.S. as being "a huge market for us" and said that the partnership would help to open "the visibility of the game up in the United States… this is something we believe will open the market up in the United States over the next two world cups."

The last Rugby World Cup, in 2015, saw the U.S. men's team – known as the Eagles – finish bottom of a group containing South Africa, Scotland, Japan and Samoa. They are currently ranked 17th in the world, below teams such as Romania, Georgia and Tonga.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports Group.

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