Rugby World Cup so far just a blip on U.S. media radar

Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:27pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Rugby has become one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, yet the showpiece World Cup currently being staged in England and Wales has barely registered a blip in the U.S. media.

A sprinkling of articles appeared in a few U.S. newspapers on the eve of the Rugby World Cup but coverage since then has varied between the sporadic and non-existent.

After the United States lost their opening match to Samoa on Sunday, the highly respected Los Angeles Times had this to say: "The U.S. lost to Samoa, 25-16, in a Rugby World Cup pool-play opener at Brighton, England."

And that was it, just one line of copy in the 'briefs' buried low down on page nine of the sports section issued on Monday.

However, rugby fans in the U.S. are not being left totally out of the picture with the Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports televising live nine of the 48 matches being played at the World Cup, including all four of their team's pool games.

The American Eagles are in Pool B -- along with South Africa, Scotland, Samoa and Japan. They will next be in action when they take on Scotland at Elland Road in Leeds on Sunday.

Good performances by the Eagles will certainly help the advance of rugby in the United States where, according to a recent study by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, it is already the fastest growing team sport.

American fans were hardly gung-ho about their nation's chances heading into this World Cup given that the U.S. had recorded just three victories in seven previous editions, two of them coming against Japan.   Continued...

Rugby Union - New Zealand v Namibia - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool C - Olympic Stadium, London, England - 24/9/15
General view of the Webb Ellis Cup before the match
Reuters / Eddie Keogh