World Rugby Sevens Series boosted by free-to-air deals

World Rugby has said the 2015-16 season of the World Rugby Sevens Series national team competition will reach more fans than any previous edition thanks to new deals with free-to-air broadcast partners.

The 2015-16 series is expected to increase on last season's record numbers, which included 5,884 hours of airtime to an estimated 400m homes in 144 nations in 12 languages.

In addition to the live output, World Rugby, the global governing body of rugby union, said its official highlights programme is set to air on some new free-to-air broadcasters. It added that UK commercial broadcaster ITV will showcase the series for the first time with its ITV4 channel showing highlights. Additional deals are pending in further territories.

The 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens Series commences with the Dubai Sevens on December 4-5 and will take in a further eight rounds before concluding in London, England, on May 21-22. Fiji is the reigning champion.