The Runner Sports

NBC Sports To Air USA Rugby Women’s World Cup Semifinal Live

Even despite a disappointing loss to England Thursday, USA Rugby Women’s National Team advanced to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinal after host nation Ireland seized up against France in a 21-5 loss. The Eagles will face the New Zealand Black Ferns, winners of four of the seven ladies World Cup.

The big news comes in a move that required some shifting around from NBC Sports –who secured exclusive US rights to the World Cup through 2023 this year– so that the game will be broadcasted live Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 12 pm ET on NBC Sports. The fact that it required some shifting around is another story, as the debut to those exclusive rights have been far from smooth as NBC aims to upsell a rugby exclusive package. Games have not been live, and advertised matchups have been bumped. It seemed of anything, regardless of the US inclusion, the knockout stages of the tournament were sure to grace even NBCSN. The other semifinal matchup, to this point, remains behind a paywall (even as England shoots for a seven-for-seven World Cup final appearance streak), and what ultimately will become of the final is up in the air.

It’s big news for the sport and USA Rugby women’s team, winner of the 1991 debut Women’s World Cup. There’s no doubt that NBC has long been invested in the sport both here domestically, but also internationally, having picked up the English Premiership Rugby in 2016. They’ve covered the HSBC Sevens Circuit, the Rugby Weekend in Chicago, ensured Olympic rugby had good air time, and even broadcasted a USA/Ireland matchup this summer. A chance to showcase a home product on the world stage against the best teams in the sport is no doubt the selling point they were hoping when the rights to the tournament were secured.

“NBC is a partner in growing rugby that every fan in America should be thankful for having. I know I speak on behalf of all American rugby fans when I thank NBC for making such a strong statement in support of our game, and moving this match to a window where it can be seen live,” said USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne.

But now it’s on the supporters’ shoulders. A midday matchup on a work day isn’t exactly easy to ensure it’ll be tuned into. That said, USA Rugby fans need to do everything they can to ensure the network sees a positive trend in ratings for the match. Supporters can be sour over the NBC Gold’s Rugby Pass later, it’s time to support the ladies and the game.

“Now it’s up to us as a community to rally friends, neighbors and fans alike to take advantage of this exclusive broadcast and support our Women’s National Team on Tuesday,” continued Payne. “Let us not forget to thank the women competing in Ireland and representing us so proudly. Thanks to their efforts, along with the coaching staff, fans and of course, NBC Sports, we’re fortunate to share this incredible moment together.”

So tell your friends, tell your family, get that game on the TV in any way that you can. Put it on at work, fight your coworkers for the break room TV, get it on at the bar you head out to for a prolonged lunch to catch the match. For those stuck at the computer, it can also be streamed through the NBC Sports Live site. It’s buck up or shut up time for USA Rugby supporters.

Again, the game can be caught Tuesday, August 22 at 12 pm ET on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). We’ll see you there.

Tyler Arnold

Tyler Arnold

I am the editor-in-chief of The Runner Sports. I watch more sports than is probably determined healthy and enjoy talking about them all. I am a firm believer in there being a "dropped peanut surcharge" at the ballpark when it's a good throw. Thanks for the read.
Tyler Arnold