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NBC Sports to Inaugurate Live Coverage of Rugby Sevens World Series

NEW YORK: NBC’s sports networks will broadcast eight hours of live coverage of the 2011 Rugby Sevens world championship, the broadcaster announced today. NBC Sports and NBC Universal will carry the HSBC Sevens World Series event live from Las Vegas the Feb. 12-13, 2011. It will mark the first time that the tournament has had live television coverage in the United States, NBC said.

“Rugby Sevens is an exciting, fast-paced sport that is growing in global popularity, participation, and interest,” NBC Sports Executive Vice President Jon Miller said. “NBC had the privilege of broadcasting the inaugural 2010 Rugby Sevens Collegiate Championship and is excited to expand its coverage of rugby by bringing the HSBC Sevens World Series to live network television for the first time”

The NBC broadcast schedule is as follows:
NBC Sports: Live coverage, 3:30-6 p.m. ET on Feb. 12; 4:30-6 p.m. ET on Feb. 13;
Universal Sports: Live coverage, 2-3:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 12; 2-4:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 13;
NBC Mobile: Live simulcast, 3:30-6 p.m. ET on Feb. 12; 4:30-6 p.m. ET on Feb. 13; Full-event coverage available on-demand in HD quality video.

NBC says: Rugby Sevens features seven players per team playing on the same size pitch as a 15s match and offers non-stop action where speed, high scoring and athleticism dominate the competition.The format allows for constant entertainment with each match split into two seven-minute halves, and a new match starting about every 20 minutes. Rugby Sevens will be an Olympic sport starting in 2016.

Samoa battled New Zealand last year to win the championship, 33-12. Samoa will return to defend its title next year, along with teams from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, England, France, Canada, South Africa and Kenya to name a few.

The HSBC Sevens World Series will begin on Saturday, Feb.12 and will conclude with the championship game on Sunday, Feb. 13 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The event will feature teams from 16 countries competing in the fourth leg of the Series.