The Starzplay streaming service has acquired exclusive rights to the upcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The platform will show all 48 matches from the men's rugby union tournament live and exclusively across the region.
Live coverage will begin on September 8 with hosts France taking on New Zealand in the opening match. The final will be played on October 28.
Starzplay will broadcast matches on its new Starzplay Sports Rugby World Cup streaming pop-up channel which will launch on September 1.
As well as live games, the channel will show previews, highlights, news, stories from across the tournament, and classic matches.
The content will additionally be available on-demand on Starzplay’s SVOD service.
For the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, MENA rights were held by pay-TV heavyweight BeIN Sports, through a late deal.
Andy Warkman, head of sport at Starzplay, said: “We are thrilled to be streaming the Rugby World Cup 2023 exclusively across MENA. This deal further cements our commitment to bring world-class sport to Starzplay. We are looking forward to delivering our extensive Rugby World Cup coverage to fans and working with World Rugby to grow the sport in the region.”
Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive, added: “We are delighted to partner with Starzplay to showcase Rugby World Cup 2023 in a rapidly growing rugby market.
“This collaboration reflects our shared vision of expanding the reach and popularity of rugby in the region, by making the sport more relevant and more accessible to more people.
“With Starzplay’s commitment to delivering comprehensive and fan-friendly coverage of rugby’s showcase event, we are confident that France 2023 will be the most memorable and accessible for rugby enthusiasts across MENA.”
The last major Rugby World Cup deal was unveiled in early July, when BeIN renewed exclusive rights to the tournament across 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Starzplay, meanwhile, launched its sports service last year and has a rights portfolio that includes Italian soccer’s Serie A and Coppa Italia, mixed martial arts’ UFC, ICC cricket events, NBA League Pass, and boxing.