RWC Canadian tv rights redux
Will we see some RWC on Canadian TV after all...?
Catching up on the past couple weeks, I received a press release dated Friday, June 29th from MediaZone, blaring:
MediaZone Rugby is the Official Broadband Provider of the Rugby World Cup!
Do you want to watch every match from the 2007 Rugby World Cup? Would you also like to get LIVE audio feeds, match previews, halftime and fulltime highlights, interviews, and be able to see classic Rugby World Cup games? If the answer is yes, then you need the official broadband video service created by the unique partnership of the sport’s governing body, the IRB, and the world’s leading provider of online oval action, MediaZone Rugby. RWC Plus will show all 48 matches on a 24-hour delayed basis, available to either stream or download, plus all the extras mentioned above that will make you feel like you’re following the tournament on the ground in France without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
The RWC Pass includes all the coverage and bonus content you need to fully enjoy the tournament that will crown rugby’s world champion. The RWC Pass is available to rugby fans around the world for the incredibly low price of $49.99 and can be purchased beginning July 31st when the RWCPlus site is officially launched.
RWC Plus will also offer a Knockout package, Supporters packages, and individual games on a Pay-Per-View basis. The Knockout deal includes all four quarterfinals, both semifinals, 3rd place match, and the Final for $34.99. The supporters packages let you watch every match from your selected team, no matter how far they progress in the tourney. For any of the top twelve teams the price is $34.99 and for the bottom eight countries it’s $14.99. If you just want to pick and choose particular games, the pool matches are $3.99, quarterfinals are $7.99, and the semifinals, third place game, and the Final are $9.99 each.
The best deal available is to buy a RWC Pass and a MediaZone Rugby All Access Pass together for $139.99. This combination will let you watch rugby year round because it includes the entire World Cup, plus LIVE coverage of every televised match from the Super 14, June Tours, Tri Nations, Currie Cup, and Air New Zealand Cup. That’s nearly 300 matches a year for less than fifty cents apiece!
The quadrennial quest for the William Webb Ellis trophy produces incredible rugby and incomparable drama and you won’t want to miss a minute of it, so check back here in one month’s time to lock down your ticket to Rugby World Cup 2007!
Rugby Channel on MediaZone
Strangely enough, that same announcement isn't highlighted on MediaZone's actual website, so one hopes the right hand knows what the left is doing.
The arrangement is curious in light of the RWC North American broadcast rights agreement signed with Setanta a couple months ago. (See here and here.)
I wrote Nick Taylor, the Director of Marketing & Communications at Rugby Canada, asking him what he knew about Setanta's broadband RWC rights. Were they, perhaps, rights holders to TV and PPV broadcast licenses only? I asked to shed any light on how the various RWC broadcast properties were bring allocated.
Taylor got right back to me on his little Blackberry (invented, designed and manufactured right here in Waterloo, Ontario BTW), with a tantalyzing reply, which may be a new revelation to me only (I'm generally the last guy to learn anything, and hey, I've been away from all electronic media for weeks), but I rush to post now:
There appeared to have been a loophole that allowed Media Zone enough wiggle room to take hold of the broadband rights.
Setanta will still have the TV rights and I believe the right to simulcast to web anything that goes live.
Look for news shortly that Setanta have finally found a TV partner in Canada to show the RWC.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Red emphases mine!
Hold your breath rugby fans...