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UPDATE: Rugby Canada/USA Rugby efforting to get second half on ESPN July 11.

UPDATE: US Eagles Vs Canada unlikely to be broadcast nationally.

It's unlikely the game will make it to ESPN. According to Doug Crosse of Rugby Canada they looked into the broadcast but the cost is too high.

"At this point it appears we will not be able to broadcast the game," he said in an email Monday. "It is purely a dollar and cents issue."

It's a real shame that ESPN/ABC has failed to get a sport with hundreds of thousands of registered participants and millions of followers right on TV. First we have the USA Rugby Sevens from San Diego that gets pushed back 27 minutes for a February NBA game and now this.

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USA Rugby's day in the sun had a shadow drawn over it Saturday with the shooting of Steve McNair. But it could leave the opportunity for the all-important second game taking place in Edmonton, Alberta to be seen nationally.

The much-hyped Independence Day match-up of the two top nations in North American rugby was cut short. USA Rugby reportedly had a contract with the sports behemoth for one full game on the main ESPN channel.

Now the second leg of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Qualifier, in which the US holds a 6-point halftime advantage, could again be televised.

For those who missed it -- or were watching it in person -- around halftime Saturday, news broke about the former NFL MVP's shooting death and ESPN jumped away to cover it. That left USA Rugby's paid spot cut in half.

The game was flipped over to "The Deuce" without notice and without the scroll at the bottom of the screen telling rugby fans returning to their barstools where the game had gone or where to find it. With the quick exit -- and rugby being switched off for many basic cable subscribers -- the issue remains, does ESPN owe USA Rugby it's full game? Half a game? Anything?

On Saturday, Rugby Canada folks were buzzing around, making calls looking to get the game, produce it themselves and put it on. Whether that means ESPN and/or its Canadian friend TSN is not known. But before the end of the July 4th game calls were being made looking to find the money to put the game on.

As for USA Rugby, well the game isn't taking place in their country but there were some mighty unhappy folks in blue polos and white shorts buzzing around Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston Saturday afternoon.

ESPN, as of writing, didn't have too much captivating viewing scheduled for next Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. kick-off in Edmonton (11:30 EDT) and would have to beat out a Professional Bowling Tour re-run or a showing of the 1999 home run derby -- In case you missed it, Ken Griffey Jr. wins with 16 home runs. Mark McGuire has a huge first round with 13 'roid-infused long bombs!

Comments

  • Lose R 5 years ago

    yeah, they only announced 5 or 6 times that the game was moving to the Deuce due to "breaking news" before they did the switch. did they have to switch? No, but they definitely warned everyone aurally

  • Paul H 5 years ago

    Well, my DVR didn't swtich! ;^)

  • Tony 5 years ago

    either way it was totally a slap in the face, and they owe rugby fans a full match. It is time they stand up to their name as a "World Wide" sports network and realize there are more than just three sports in the world.

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