Major League Rugby, a new rugby union competition in the US, has agreed a rights distribution deal with sports broadcaster ESPN.
The agreement covers MLR’s inaugural season, which gets underway in April.
ESPN will carry an 18-game package covering regular-season games on its platforms both in the US and worldwide. As well as game coverage, ESPN.com will feature other league-related content.
Regional sports networks in the seven markets with MLR teams for 2018 – Austin, Houston, Glendale, New Orleans, San Diego, Seattle and Salt Lake City – will also have access to the 18-game package.
The deal comes after MLR in November signed a multi-year rights deal with the CBS Sports division of US network CBS. CBS Sports will show a 13-game package with 10 weeks of regular-season coverage. Its coverage will include a game of the week and two weeks of post-season action in 2018.