IEC in Sports, the international media rights agency owned by Lagardère Unlimited, strengthens its portfolio in rugby media rights in Asia with two separate deals with the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU). The agency has renewed it’s arrangement to distribute the ARFU Asian 5 Nations, and has also been appointed to distribute two test matches of the Japan national rugby team against Samoa and Italy.
As Japan prepares to host the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2019, the Asian Rugby Football Union and the Japan Rugby Football Union are working hard to boost the international interest in Asian rugby. By adding these properties, IEC in Sports further proves its commitment to rugby in the region. ARFU and IEC are entering into the 7th year of cooperation on the Asian 5 Nations. Already active in rugby with the World Club 7’s and the Japan Top League, IEC in Sports prove again its long-standing support and commitment to helping ARFU to grow the Asian 5 Nations awareness and in general to improve the exposure of Asian rugby internationally.
Along with the ARFU partnership, IEC in Sports have been appointed by the Japan Rugby Football Union to distribute Japan rugby team test matches against Samoa, on the 30th May and Italy, on the 21st June 2014. The deal has been signed with J SPORTS Corporation, the global media rights holder, and include worldwide media distribution rights excluding Japan for the first test match and excluding Japan and Italy for the second. Keeping a close eye on the 2015 IRB Rugby World Cup, Japan and Samoa could compete in the same pool as South Africa, Scotland and the US, while Italy will take on France, Ireland, Canada and Romania. These two test matches distributed by IEC in Sports will give the other nations in the groups a glimpse of what awaits in England.
“IEC in Sports is very proud to once again being trusted by JRFU and J SPORTS to handle the distribution of the Japanese test matches. Japan is going from strength to strength on the international scene and it will be very interesting to follow the development of Japanese rugby leading up to the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2019”, comments Karl Samuelsson, Managing Director of IEC in Sports in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. “Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in Asia and it is with pleasure that ARFU and IEC in Sports can continue to their long standing partnership regarding the ARFU Asian 5 Nations. The 2014 ARFU Asian 5 Nations will prove to be as exciting as ever with to reigning champions Japan taking on the South Korea, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.”
For Shinji Utsunomiya, Senior Manager Programming and Acquisition of J SPORTS Corporation. “J SPORTS have long been broadcasting substantial amount of Rugby on our multichannel services and have supported the growth of the sports in Japan. As Japan prepares for the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2019, we believe there will be an increasing attention drawn to the performance of our team each ye ar leading up to the event. J SPORTS Corporation is delighted to team up with IEC in Sports again to showcase Japan’s Rugby to the world.”
“The Asian Rugby Football Union is pleased to once again team up with IEC in Sports to distribute Asia’s premier international mens rugby tournament, the Asian 5 Nations, internationally. The 2014 edition will be more interesting than ever, as it serves as the final qualifying tournament for the 2015 IRB Rugby World Cup. The winner of this year’s A5N will qualify dir ectly for next year’s World Cup. This will ensure added focus and intensity from the participating teams and guarantees some very competitive matches,” said ARFU President Trevor Gregory. “IEC in Sports know the Asian 5 Nations property very well after ha ving worked with us for the past six years and we are confident to continue our cooperation,” continues Gregory.