8K coverage for Rugby World Cup
August 21, 2019
By Colin Mann
Organisers of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan have suggested that Asia’s first tournament will set new standards in rugby broadcast production, providing a record global footprint and attracting new fans and showcasing the sport in higher quality than ever before, with 8K coverage being offered to the Japanese domestic market via NHK, and other broadcasters having the opportunity to tailor content and transmit the tournament in UHD/4K format.
Underscoring its mission to grow the global rugby family, Japan 2019 is the first Rugby World Cup where broadcast production has been completely produced and controlled by World Rugby. The international federation has teamed up with International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS) to push the boundaries of rugby broadcasting and to enrich fan experience.
With World Rugby committed to a broadcast strategy of reaching its widest possible audience, Japan 2019 will reach the broadest rugby audience in history with the action broadcast to more than 800 million households in 217 territories, surpassing the 683 million homes record in 2015. This underlines World Rugby’s commitment to expand the sport’s reach from its current 800 million following and to engage with the next generation of fans across the globe.
Reflecting its commitment to growing the sport’s reach in Asia, World Rugby can also confirm that it will provide a streaming offering for markets where broadcast deals are not operational, meaning that everyone around the globe has access to rugby’s showcase event.
With the countdown well and truly underway, rugby fever is sweeping Japan and a record domestic rugby audience is anticipated for the opening match between Japan and Russia, a match that could see a record number of people in Japan tune in to the opening ceremony and action, surpassing the previous record audience of 25 million.
“Our mission is to grow the global rugby family and our Rugby World Cup 2019 broadcast plans reflect that mission – providing more content to more people with more innovation than ever before,” stated World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont. “We are excited that new standards will be set in the broadcast and social media presentation of Rugby World Cup, as fans will experience the action from more angles and feel even closer to the world’s top players and the stories that will mark an historic and very special event.”
A total of 34 cameras will cover all angles for the semi-finals and the final, rising from the 28 and 23 camera plans used for other categories of matches during the six-week tournament. Together with a broadcast plan offering unrivalled access and content outside of the match coverage delivering four times the volume of content produced in 2015, and a complete social media experience, fans will feel closer than ever to the action.
In another first for Rugby World Cup, coverage will be offered through multiple feeds in multiple formats, meaning broadcasters will have the opportunity to tailor content and transmit the tournament in UHD/4K format.
In a further enlivening development, Augmented Reality (AR) graphics will be incorporated into the coverage, to be deployed for 34 of the 48 matches for elements such as team line-ups, player comparisons, statistics and tables. IGBS will also provide a range of content, including infographics for the @rugbyworldcup social and digital platforms. Hawk-Eye Smart Replay technology will be used in the areas of television match officials, medical and fan-engagement.
“We identified the areas where we could enhance the experience and looked at the ways in which we could deliver more content and in ways that rugby viewers have not seen before,” explained IGBS Co-Project Director Dan Miodownik. “By matching World Rugby’s ambition with our experience, I believe we have achieved that objective. It is going to be an exciting project.”
World Rugby will also geo-target fans via the official tournament and App, ensuring that everyone knows when and where to tune in to Rugby World Cup 2019, while exclusive behind the scenes and daily digital and social media packages will keep fans entertained between matches.
Organisers claim that with a larger broadcast operation, more content and a greater range of perspectives on the unforgettable moments that will define Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, Japan 2019 is set to reach, engage and inspire new audiences, growing rugby’s global footprint.