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Zug, Switzerland / Monaco - World Rugby has appointed International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS) as host broadcaster for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. IGBS is a partnership between IMG and Host Broadcasting Services (HBS) – a subsidiary of Infront Sports & Media and as such part of Wanda Sports Holding.
For the 2019 event in Japan, IGBS will be responsible for the world feed delivery to rights holding broadcasters as well as production innovation and content production for one of the world’s biggest and most famous sports events.
The decision to appoint a specialised host broadcaster for the first time reflects the global governing body’s commitment to the highest standards of innovation and consistency between tournaments, while enabling new innovations and fan-engagement priorities to be delivered.
Rugby World Cup 2015 in England set new standards in production innovation and coverage, delivering record broadcast figures in what was the most-watched and best-engaged rugby event ever and the most-spoken about sporting event of the year.
With Japan set to break new ground as the host of the first Rugby World Cup in Asia, excitement is already building in a nation where 59 million viewers tuned into last year’s showcase tournament and where rugby participation has increased by 5,000 and rugby interest increased by 40 per cent since 2015.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont: “Rugby World Cup 2015 set new standards of rugby broadcast innovation and delivery, providing fans in a record number of nations with every unforgettable moment from the most compelling and competitive tournament to date. We look forward to working with IGBS to deliver an exceptional service and experience for broadcasters and fans around the world as we anticipate a tournament that will be the catalyst to unprecedented participation growth across the world’s most populous region.”
World Rugby Head of Commercial, Broadcast and Marketing Murray Barnett added: “As we look ahead to Japan 2019, the scale of the host broadcast option and its integration into all aspects of tournament planning and fan experience means that the ability to deliver services in-house is an exciting opportunity, reflecting our ambition to build the brand and fan legacy between tournaments by ensuring an innovative and immersive approach to broadcast.”
IGBS Chairman Graham Fry: “Between us, IMG and HBS will provide a unique combination of rugby knowledge, host broadcast experience from major sporting events all over the world and familiarity with working in Japan. IMG has worked with Francis Tellier and his HBS team since the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ in Japan and Korea. Our experience and expertise complement each other perfectly. The 2015 event was a huge global success, not least in Japan where their outstanding opening match victory over South Africa set the tone for an amazing tournament and captured the imagination of the nation.”
World Rugby is currently undergoing a process to appoint the rights holding broadcaster in Japan to ensure that more people across the nation have access to rugby in the build-up to the tournament, while delivering the best-possible platform to reach and inspire new fans.
Wanda Sports Holding is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.
Infront Sports & Media is the most respected sports marketing company in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Holding, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group.
Established in 1999, Host Broadcast Services (HBS) was originally created by its CEO Francis Tellier to deliver the television and radio signals for the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups™. On this base of experience, HBS has built a CV currently boasting four highly successful and faultless FIFA World Cups™, Host Broadcast operations across four continents and a track record of delivering many multi-sport flagship events such as the Sea Games. Based in Switzerland, but with its planning headquarters in Paris/Boulogne, HBS works with a Core Team of 80 people that can increase to over 3,000 during event time. HBS is a 100% subsidiary of Infront Sports & Media.