Rugby union’s global governing body has outlined plans to offer a free streaming service for the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup, in markets where broadcast deals are not yet in place.
The tournament, which is taking place in Japan from 20th September to 2nd November, will be shown in Japan by DAZN, J Sports, NHK and Nippon TV, while nine other Asian territories, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, have a broadcast deal with BeIN, so all will be excluded from the streaming offering.
Japan 2019 is the first Rugby World Cup where broadcast production will be controlled and produced by World Rugby and comes as it expects record viewership for the event, with Asia seen as the best platform for growth.
World Rugby is anticipating a potential audience up to 20 per cent higher than the 2015 tournament, with a record reach of more than 800 million households in 217 territories, compared to 683 million homes four years ago.
There is also expected to be a record TV audience in Japan for the national team’s opening games against Russia on 20th September, beating the previous peak of 25 million.
Bill Beaumont, World Rugby chairman, said: “Our mission is to grow the global rugby family and our Rugby World Cup 2019 broadcast plans reflect that mission – providing more content to more people with more innovation than ever before.
“We are excited that new standards will be set in the broadcast and social media presentation of Rugby World Cup, as fans will experience the action from more angles and feel even closer to the world’s top players and the stories that will mark a historic and very special event.”
The event organisers have also come out this week saying they expect the tournament to bring 437.2 billion yen (US$4.1 billion) in economic benefits to the country.
A benefit impact report released from the organising committee says the tournament could attract up to 1.8 million fans, resulting in an increase to the county’s gross domestic product worth 216.6 billion yen (US$2 billion) and tax revenues of 21.6 billion yen (US$203.2 billion), along with creating 25,000 jobs.
The potential economic benefit of the World Cup is set to help the Japanese government’s reach its targets to expand the country’s sports-related market from 5.5 trillion yen (US$51.7 billion) in to 2015 to 10 trillion yen (US$94.1 billion) by 2020 and 15 trillion yen (US$141.1 billion) by 2025.
These are expected to be met through hosting world sports events – such as rugby union’s showpiece event and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – and promoting sports businesses home and abroad.