The host broadcaster contract for the next rugby World Cup has been awarded to a partnership between Host Broadcast Services (HBS) and IMG, the well-known talent and sports agency.
The appointment of the partnership, known as International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS), was announced by World Rugby, rugby union’s governing body, today.
HBS chief executive Francis Tellier told insidethegames at SPORTELMonaco here that the deal would represent a welcome opportunity to return to Japan, where he worked on the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted with South Korea.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the first time the competition has been staged in Asia.
IGBS will be responsible for the world feed delivery to rights-holding broadcasters, as well as production innovation and content production for the event.
World Rugby said the decision to appoint a specialised host broadcaster for the first time reflected its “commitment to the highest standards of innovation and consistency between tournaments, while enabling new innovations and fan-engagement priorities to be delivered”.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said the body was looking 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”.
IGBS chairman Graham Fry said: “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.
“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 said it was “currently undergoing” a process to appoint the rights holding broadcaster in Japan.