With the Six Nations Championship in full flow and the dust barely settled on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, TV companies are set to do battle for the 2019 Webb Ellis Trophy extravaganza in Japan after World Rugby launched the UK and Ireland tender process on Monday.
The process is open to all interested parties, including terrestrial companies like the BBC and ITV who broadcast the last tournament, and companies like Sky Sports and BT Sport.The only protected listed event that must be shown in terrestrial TV is the final itself.
Rugby World Cup 2015 was the most widely viewed rugby event ever. The live audience saw a 48% increase on the 2011 event in New Zealand, with viewers through 106 broadcasters reaching nearly 724 million homes across the globe.
The UK and Ireland markets were at the heart of the success story. In the UK, host broadcaster ITV achieved peak audiences reaching 11.5m for England’s matches against Fiji, Wales and Australia and the final between winners New Zealand and the Wallabies.
In Ireland, TV3 attracted its biggest-ever audiences for 2015 matches involving the Ireland team, while World Cup matches delivered three of the top four broadcast audiences in the Republic in 2015.
World Rugby has issued bidding information to interested parties in both markets and bids for Rugby World Cup 2019 as a stand-alone or coupled with Rugby World Cup 2023 will be considered with the successful bids expected to be announced later this year.
Read more on Wales Online.