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There are three major players in the space of broadcasting and streaming major international and professional rugby in the United States – ESPN+, NBC Gold, and FloRugby. It can be confusing chasing down the match or competition you want to watch, so we break it down for you.
The four major professional leagues are divvied up between the three outlets. Flo has the French Top 14. NBC Gold carries England’s Premiership, showing select games on linear television. ESPN+ streams the Guinness Pro 14, with the rest of the top teams in the Northern Hemisphere and a couple of South African teams, and Super Rugby, featuring the best clubs in the Southern Hemisphere.
The two major international tournaments are split between ESPN Plus and NBC Gold. ESPN+ streams The Rugby Championship, featuring Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. NBC owns the rights to Six Nations, streaming Europe’s best, likely with some linear crossover.
ESPN+ also boasts the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Americas Rugby Championship and Major League Rugby, with combined online and linear coverage of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship and USA Sevens. ESPN+ has also increased its collegiate content, with a smattering of matches featuring mostly the service academies, some Ivy teams and Iona.
NBC Gold has one more blue blood piece the European Champions and Challenge Cups, which pit the best clubs from the three European leagues against each other in a tournament format. NBC also owns the World Cups.
Flo has a wide array of content, the most prestigious of which might be the upstart Premiership Cup, a first-year tournament replacing the bygone Anglo-Welsh Cup. All of the clubs from England’s pro league participate.
Flo also has rights for all Eagle matches, save for those in the Americas Rugby Championship. USA Rugby and Flo have an arrangement that allows for potentially putting a handful of Eagle tests a year on linear television. Flo also puts written content behind its paywall.
Flo’s subscription is the most expensive, costing $150 a year if you purchase the year all at once. If you pay monthly, it’s just under $360 a year. NBC Gold is $70 yearly, and ESPN+ is $60.