RugbyPass TV, the over-the-top (OTT) platform run by the World Rugby governing body, has snapped up exclusive UK and Ireland rights to England men’s one-test tour of Japan later this month.

The game, taking place on June 22, will be free-to-view for fans via the RugbyPass online site, as well as its app on mobile, tablet, laptop, and Smart TV platforms. It represents the first-ever official test between the two sides in Japan.

This deal is significant as England’s summer internationals – typically against teams from the Southern Hemisphere – have traditionally been shown to a domestic audience by pay-TV heavyweight Sky Sports. However, the broadcaster failed to put a deal in place for England’s visit to Japan.

Sky will instead show the team’s two tests in New Zealand, on July 6 and 13.

This marks the first time RugbyPass covers an England test match (in any market) outside of Rugby World Cup action.

Last year’s Rugby World Cup was shown in England by ITV, while the Six Nations tournament earlier this year was covered jointly by ITV and the public-service BBC.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Ewan Turney, marketing director at England Rugby, said: “This is an exciting partnership with World Rugby to enable all fans in the UK and Ireland to watch this historic match for free.

“We know that younger audiences are gravitating towards streaming platforms and fans are watching matches on a multitude of devices so we have chosen this free-to-air route.”

James Rothwell, chief marketing and content officer at World Rugby, added: “Provision of world-class live content and unique storytelling is core to RugbyPass TV’s mission to broaden rugby’s accessibility and World Rugby Studios will be producing comprehensive coverage for fans on RugbyPass TV, including a pre-match, half-time, and post-match show, and commentary.”

World Rugby acquired RugbyPass from Sky New Zealand in October 2022. Sky NZ had bought it in 2019 after the platform was originally launched in 2016.

Last December, World Rugby and the EPCR governing body for rugby union in Europe announced a collaboration based around the streaming platform.

For the 2023 World Cup, meanwhile, it covered specific games in markets where traditional broadcast rights went unsold.