United World Sports Announces Expanded Agreement With ESPN
United World Sports, the owners of the largest and most successful annual rugby events in the United States, today announced a new expanded agreement with ESPN to carry the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the national title event for men’s and women’s college Rugby 7’s.
The 2018 event will again be held at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. from June 1-3 with over 30,000 fans expected.
“We are very happy to be collaborating with ESPN in this agreement,” said Jonathan First, United World Sports President. “Providing coverage not just for the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, but rugby across the United States, is outstanding and a vital piece to help us in our vision to grow the Olympic sport of Rugby 7’s to a new level.”
The television broadcast schedule will be as follows:
• Saturday, June 2: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2
• Sunday, June 3: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2
• Sunday, June 3: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET on ESPNews.
All of the other matches featured in-stadium will be covered live on ESPN+, the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer and International segment and ESPN. Fans can now subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and, in addition to hundreds of rugby matches annually, can stream thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks.
ESPN began its expanded coverage of rugby in the United States with the HSBC Sevens World Series from Las Vegas the first weekend of March. Nearly 70,000 fans were on hand to see the USA Eagles win the event for the first time in history.
The 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship will mark the eighth consecutive year that the event has been held in Philadelphia and at Talen Energy Stadium. The annual event features the nation’s top 24 men’s collegiate rugby 7s teams, the top 16 women’s teams, a regional competition with a six-team field vying for a spot in next year’s main bracket; the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) national championship; and a national high school tournament with both boys’ and girls’ teams.
The three-day rugby event is one of the largest gatherings of collegiate and high school rugby teams in the world. Penn Mutual is in the fourth year of a title sponsorship for the event.
The 24 team men’s field features America’s best teams, including: Air Force, Arizona, Arkansas State, Army, Boston College, Dartmouth, Delaware, Eastern Washington, Indiana, Iona, Kutztown, Life, Lindenwood, Maryland, Mount Saint Mary’s, Navy, Notre Dame, Penn State, Saint Joseph’s, South Carolina, Temple, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.
Leading the women’s national championship field this summer is defending women’s champion Life University, which captured the crown last June with a 17-12 victory over Lindenwood University. Lindenwood also returns for the 2018 competition, along with Philadelphia-area favorites Drexel, Delaware, Penn State and Temple, as well as the women’s rugby 7s squads from Bloomsburg, Boston University, Clemson, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Navy, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, and the NSCRO Selects squad, an all-star team chosen from the best of NSCRO’s 7 teams, round out the 16-team field.
The interest in Rugby Sevens (also known as Sevens Rugby) continues to grow after the return to the Olympic Games in 2016, following a 92-year hiatus. The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is America’s national sevens championship and serves as the centerpiece of a nationwide effort to build American rugby talent for competition on the International stage. Over the past eight years, the event has produced over 31 players who have gone on to play for the U.S. National teams.
Reserved and Field Level tickets to the World’s Largest Collegiate Rugby Festival are available online at sevensrugby.com. Single day reserved tickets are $90 and field level tickets are $63, and full weekend reserved tickets are $132 and field level tickets are $79.