via press release:
Eight Hours of Live Coverage June 2-3
Army, Cal, Navy, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas & 2011 Champion Dartmouth Among Teams Competing in 2012
NEW YORK — May 30, 2012 — NBC and the NBC Sports Network will combine to televise eight hours of live programming from the 2012 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship, this Saturday and Sunday from Philadelphia. Live pool play matches will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday from 2-4:30 p.m. ET and then transition to NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET. On Sunday, NBC Sports Network will carry the Semifinal matches from 2-4 p.m. ET, followed by the Championship Final on NBC from 4-6 p.m. ET.
“NBC Sports Group’s commitment to broadcasting live national coverage of both collegiate and professional rugby is unprecedented and invaluable to the growth of the sport in the United States,” said Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby. “No other broadcast partner has the rights or ability to televise domestic and international rugby at this level. NBC Sports Group’s commitment will take rugby to a new level of awareness, especially as we draw closer to the 2016 Olympic Games.”
“We are thrilled to again partner with USA Rugby on this exciting tournament. The Collegiate Rugby Championship and USA Sevens events are quality, multi-platform programming for the NBC Sports Group,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “We are committed to showcasing the sport of rugby here in the United States and are excited that it will be an Olympic event in 2016. This is a great opportunity for viewers to get an early look at some of the players who may be competing for Team USA in Rio.”
Veteran announcer Todd Harris will serve as the play-by-play commentator for all telecasts, and will be joined in the booth by former USA Sevens captain and USA Rugby World Cup participant Brian Hightower. Marty Snider will report all the action from the sidelines.
Live schedule for the 2012 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship (all times ET, subject to change):
Saturday, June 2 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network
4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. NBC
Sunday, June 3 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. NBC Sports Network
4 p.m. – 6 p.m. NBC
The third annual tournament will be held at PPL Park in Philadelphia and will feature 16 of the top college teams competing in 38 matches. All matches will consist of seven players per team, playing on the same size pitch as a traditional 15’s rugby match. Teams will compete in one of four pools and will play seven-minute halves, with a two-minute halftime.
Seven teams will make their third straight appearance at the tournament, including 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship Cup winner Dartmouth and 2011 runner-up, Army. Penn State, Navy, University of California, Notre Dame and Arizona will also return for a third go-round. Texas, Temple and Oklahoma will make a repeat appearance from the 2011 tournament. Delaware, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina State, Life University and Wisconsin will compete for the first time.
The Collegiate Rugby Championship is the premier college rugby tournament in the country, and serves as a national platform for America’s future Olympians. Rugby Sevens will become an official Olympic sport in 2016 and the Collegiate Rugby Championship will offer fans a unique opportunity to preview the talent who may qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in four years. The current USA Rugby Sevens National team includes three full-time players who have competed in the Collegiate Rugby Championship tournament within the past two-years.
About USA Rugby Sevens on NBC:
USA Sevens LLC, in partnership with NBC Sports Group, owns and operates the Collegiate Rugby Championship, as well as America’s premier professional rugby event, the HSBC USA Sevens Rugby Tournament. Held annually in Las Vegas, the event is one of the nine international stops in the HSBC Sevens World Series, and is the largest annual professional rugby event in North America. In 2012 there were 64,000 attendees during the weekend.
Through collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, the Collegiate Rugby Championship, the USA Sevens Tournament and all nine HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments are broadcast nationally on NBC, NBC Sports Network or Universal Sports Network. In total, NBC Sports Group televises nearly 60 hours of live rugby programming annually, by far the most live rugby coverage in the United States.