NBC Reportedly Parting Ways With CRC, Varsity Cup

Colleen McCloskey crc-2017-mcclosky-florugby--3021.jpg

Multiple sources have told FloRugby that NBC and the Collegiate Rugby Championship and Varsity Cup are set to part ways.

The CRC and Varsity Cup are two independent competitions run by United World Sports (White Plains, NY), which also runs the USA Sevens World Series events in Las Vegas every March. The CRC was created in 2010 as a college sevens tournament and was held twice before USA Rugby was able to create its own national college sevens championship event.

The Varsity Cup is a Division I-level men's 15s college postseason tournament that runs at the same time as the DIA playoffs. The Varsity Cup has been held the last four years. Both the CRC and Varsity Cup are, in some ways, made-for-TV events. NBC and NBC Sports Network have broadcast these events since their inception, although this year's Varsity Cup final was not shown live.

Cracks have been forming in the relationship between NBC and United World Sports. According to some sources, this might be the result of personality conflicts between individuals in the two organizations. However, there are some specific business issues at play, as well. NBC has been looking for ratings growth in the events, and if that growth has appeared, it has not been publicized or celebrated. Most likely, the ratings have been relatively static.

Attendance for the Varsity Cup Final has been relatively steady, while the CRC has reported some increases in recent years, made possible in part because its venue in Chester, PA, Talen Energy Field, has expanded to have several satellite fields, thus allowing more teams in more brackets to be counted as being inside the venue. The true attendance of the CRC has been difficult to gauge but certainly has not dropped.

While NBC may not be happy with the viewership of the event, the network can't point the finger only at United World Sports. Part of the agreement between the two organizations is that NBC sells advertising time and space and shares the income with United World Sports. NBC has never really given that side of the business a high priority, choosing instead to use the rugby events as add-ons for sponsors of larger events.

United World Sports is reportedly shopping its events to other broadcasters.

D1 College Games: Our Picks, Our Live Coverage

Adam Smith stonybrookvuconn-adam-smith.jpeg

The fall D1AA playoffs happen this weekend, and while the two brackets play in two regional quarters and semis, those regions are both in Ohio, go figure.

Northeastern, Cortland, Rumble In Liberty Challenge

David Barpal northeastern170302-LVI-CRC-Barpal-767.jpg

If there’s a championship clash in the Liberty Conference Challenge, you might argue it's Cortland v Northeastern.

UConn, Binghamton Can Prove Much In Challenge Match

Jim Maclean uconn-austin-toback-try-Jim-Maclean.jpg

The University of Connecticut rugby players take a lot of pride in how far they’ve come as a team. In a year's time, the Huskies followed up a 1-6 record in 2016 with a 6-1 mark this season — and they're not done yet.

AIC vs. Fordham Matchup Is One Of Many Highlights At Liberty Challenge

Steven Zomberg AIC HOA 7s 2017

It's tough to identify the top matchup at this weekend's Liberty Conference Challenge, but American International College vs. Fordham seems to have that kind of cache.

Eagles Named To Face Germany

David Barpal Scully v Russia 2016

The starting lineup for the USA in Saturday's test match against Germany has been named.

Are Challenge Matches A Better Format For College Postseason?


By John Broker

Pic Of The Week: He's OK, Folks

Colleen McCloskey Navy_Life-5455.jpg

Every now and then a photographer captures a special moment on the field. 

After Challenge Of D1A, Tufts Faces Liberty Challenge

Griffin Andersen Tufts Rugby 2017 -2-Griffin Andersen.jpg

Moving up from National Small College rugby to D1A was supposed to be a massive jump for Tufts, but for the Jumbos, it wasn’t so big.

RLWC: Two QFs On Facebook Live

NRLPhotos New Zealand v Scotland RLWC

Two of the Rugby League World Cup quarterfinals will be shown live on FloRugby's Facebook Page.

Red River Turbulent As A&M Looks To OU

Red River Conference texasa-m-rrrc-7s-2017-2.jpg

FloRugby’s live coverage of Red River Conference games begins this weekend, just as the conference is trying to figure itself out.