Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s), the new US men’s and women’s league, has secured European coverage of its 2023 season after striking a rights deal with international sports streaming service DAZN.
The agreement, brokered by the UK-based TCB Sport Media rights agency, will see DAZN air coverage of this season’s five rugby sevens tournaments, starting with the league’s opening weekend in Austin, Texas, tomorrow (June 17) across its platforms in Europe.
PR7s then moves onto PayPal Park in San Jose (July 15), TCO Stadium in Minneapolis (June 24), and Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh (July 23) before the Championship event at Audi Field in Washington DC (August 6).
DAZN Global chief executive Veronica Diquatro said: “DAZN are really excited to be partnering with PR7s for the 2023 season. It is a highly competitive league, and we can’t wait to broadcast all the action live to our European customers.”
This year’s expanded slate will feature eight men’s and women’s PR7s teams competing in the five tournaments, with 192 players participating in a 40-game season – eight games per tournament – up from 30 games across three tournaments in 2022.
Four sides – the Texas Team, New York Locals, Southern Headliners, and Pittsburgh Steeltoes – comprise the Eastern Conference, while the Northern Loonies, SoCal Loggerheads, Rocky Mountain Experts, and Golden State Retrievers make up the Western Conference.
Owen Scannell, founder and chief executive of PR7s, said: “As we add more international talent to PR7s, there is increasing demand for rugby fans around the world to watch our tournaments.
“Partnering with DAZN will bring even more eyeballs to our league, as viewers at home and abroad will be captivated by our format where every match matters.”
The league has already secured domestic coverage for the 2023 season through national networks CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
CBS Sports’ rights cover the US and Canada and will see the broadcaster air three tournaments – Austin, San Jose, and Pittsburgh. Fox Sports’ deal, meanwhile, only covers the US and will see it air the championship event, as well as the Minneapolis tournament via its free-to-air platform Tubi.
PR7s launched in July 2021, with four franchises competing in a series of fast 14-minute games at three tournaments held at Major League Soccer venues in San Jose, Washington DC, and Austin.
National network Fox broadcasted the tournaments on its dedicated sports channels FS1 and FS2, as well as the Fox Sports App and foxsports.com.
Last year’s three tournaments were held at the same three MLS stadiums, with streaming channel FuboTV serving as the league’s sole broadcast partner.
In May, Scannell told GlobalData Sport that PR7s was designed to supercharge the growth of rugby union in North America as the US gears up to host the men’s Rugby World Cup in 2031 and the women’s edition two years later.
Read more on how PR7s is looking to lead the charge for rugby in the US.