LONDON — Discovery Communications is to acquire a minority stake in RugbyPass, a digital content platform that reaches rugby fans across 23 Asian markets. Select content from Discovery-owned Setanta Sports Asia will be made available to RugbyPass subscribers.
Launched in Asia in February by Coliseum Sports Media, RugbyPass offers fans one destination to watch the world’s top rugby matches, including Super Rugby, Aviva Premiership, European Champions Cup and British Lions Tour in New Zealand in 2017, in high definition on the internet or any app-enabled device.
The launch of RugbyPass complements a boom time for the game in Asia, including World Rugby’s deal with Chinese broadcaster Alibaba, the return of Singapore to the World Rugby Sevens circuit and the inclusion of Japan’s Sunwolves in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Arthur Bastings, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, highlighted the company’s strategic goal to “deliver innovative direct-to-consumer products to superfans” as a key priority.
“In partnership with CSM, our investment in RugbyPass will provide sports fans with greater access to the world’s best rugby competitions, making content that they love available on more screens, when and wherever they choose to watch it.”
Tim Martin, CEO at CSM, said: “RugbyPass is a successful product with an increasingly strong and loyal following, and now with Discovery’s added resources and expertise, we are excited to not only expand the sports content available on the site through Setanta but also invest in further growth.”