Seven secures rugby league world cup rights

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 18 July 2016

Seven Network has secured broadcast rights for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The event, which runs from 27 October to 2 December, will be the second consecutive time Seven has held the pinnacle event of a sport traditionally dominated by rival Nine.

The agreement includes free-to-air and subscription TV broadcast rights as well as online and mobile platforms or all 28 games.

Seven will also act as the host broadcaster of all Australian games for international TV media.

The Rugby League World Cup 2017 will feature 14 teams playing 28 games in Australia, New Zealand and a few pool matches in Papua New Guinea. The tournament is traditionally dominated by Australia with New Zealand and England providing the sternest competition.

For Seven, it's another international event in an increasingly busy sporting calendar, which includes coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the 2017 Olympic Winter Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

"The partnership with the Rugby League World Cup will see us not only create the global television coverage but also undertake the most far-reaching and expansive coverage of the Cup across television and connected devices," Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette says. 

"We are looking forward to being a partner with the Rugby League World Cup.  It will be a remarkable event.  And broadcast live in our primetime.”

Rugby league enjoys massive support and sponsorship potential in Australia, the perennial top nation, but isn't as large or prestigious as rugby union's world cup, which is a bigger and better-backed sport globally.

However, winning the rights helps Seven gain traction in a sport that is lucrative domestically and is traditionally dominated by rival Nine. It also adds shine to the network's reputation for hosting large global events.

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