English clubs look to tap U.S. market with NBC contract

Tue Mar 8, 2016 8:22am EST
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(Reuters) - English Premiership rugby clubs have reached a three-year agreement with NBC Sports for coverage of matches in the United States as they bid to gain a wider audience in the country.

The partnership kicks off with the first Premiership match on U.S. soil, featuring champions Saracens and London Irish at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Saturday.

The initial contract with NBC begins at the start of the 2016-17 season in September.

"This new agreement with NBC Sports Group is an historic milestone for us. It takes the Aviva Premiership Rugby brand to a bigger audience than we have ever had in the U.S.," Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Saracens v London Irish game will be the first English Premiership rugby match to be played overseas.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)