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supporting more rugby on T.V.
Currently, the only way to view live rugby in the USA and Canada is with a subscription to Setanta Sports, the Dublin-based international sports channel.
Although Setanta is not available in all markets, and in the US has only recently moved from satellite providers to cable/internet TV providers such as U-verse, it has been an oasis in the empty desert of rugby union broadcasting.
Thus, yesterdays announcement that Setanta was transferring the US broadcast right to FOX Soccer Channel was met with skepticism and worry by current subscribers.
Setanta Sports has today announced that it has reached an agreement with Fox Soccer Channel to transfer select programming rights, including many premium soccer and rugby events. Fox Soccer Channel will acquire these rights effective March 1, 2010.
FOX Soccer has a patchy history with rugby, having once carried a weekly (or semi-regular) rugby program called The Rugby Club. This was actually innovative show, with a pub-style setting that often brought in local teams to interview. Of course, tape-delayed International matches or highlight shows were the main event.
However, The Rugby Club faded into history as did all the rugby coverage on FOX.
What will happen after 1-March-2010 when the Setanta-FOX transfer is finalized is unknown.
Given the uncertainty of the USA Super League and the recent financial shortcomings of the USA 7s, it would appear that the domestic market for rugby is low. This may explain why Setanta canceled all coverage of rugby league in 2009.
The only place where we are seeing MORE rugby broadcasting is from BBC America who are showing 5 LIVE matches from the 2010 Six Nations championship. To my knowledge, live internationals from the Six Nations have never been shown on cable TV in the US.
If you are worried about what’s going to happen to rugby on TV, please be sure to sign our petition to BBC America and BBC Canada. Together, we just might be able to make a difference and get more live coverage of rugby internationals.