A whole new ball game – media rights, Rugby World Cup & battles over online coverage of major sports

The world of rugby is no stranger to bone-crunching showdowns but as the sixth World Cup kicked off in Paris on Friday night, the action for the media industry was located off the pitch. Instead of the William Webb Ellis Cup being at stake, this fight between newspapers and news-wires on one side and the event’s organisers – the International Rugby Board – on the other, centred on the future of reporting as news goes digital. And while the winners of the tournament will hold the title for the next four years, the outcome of this battle could have repercussions for years to come as newspapers grapple with the 24-hour online news agenda.

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