Rugby League World Cup 2021 broadcast production to go out to tender

The organisers of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC21) and the International Rugby League (IRL) are bringing TV coverage of the tournament in-house and will look to appoint a production partner, it has been announced.

In what is being described as an “historic collaboration”, IRL and RLWC21 will take joint responsibility for the host broadcast of matches at the tournament and the sale of broadcast rights across the world.

An ‘Invitation To Tender’ will be issued shortly calling for a “world-class production partner to give fans a better viewing experience than ever before.”

The conglomerate will be responsible for a world feed that will include 61 matches across the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair tournaments. They will work alongside the BBC which has UK rights for the tournament.

Australia’s Seven Network was worldwide host broadcaster for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Jon Dutton, the chief executive of RLWC2021, said: “The content needs of fans are changing radically and becoming more fragmented, and we want to stay ahead of the curve and meet these rapidly evolving demands.

“Our partnership with the IRL allows us to both execute a world-class broadcast production and rights strategy, which will be at the centre of our fan engagement approach and will provide an additional revenue stream for all parties.”

IRL chief executive Nigel Wood added: “The opportunity to work collaboratively on the broadcast production is a very sensible commercial arrangement. It puts the whole presentation of the tournament in the hands of the organisers.

“Together with the tournament’s domestic broadcast partner the BBC, we can deliver a great experience for viewers of the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments. It also allows the tournament to make a range of content available to broadcasters of every kind around the world.”

The BBC has broadcast rights in the UK and will show all games live across its various platforms. The Corporation secured the rights back in 2017 in a deal that also included the last tournament in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The worldwide broadcast partners for the tournament will be announced in the coming months.

RLWC2021 is responsible for the operational delivery of the tournament and owns all the associated commercial rights.

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup will take place from October to November 2021 in England 

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