BBC America is adding content pegged to the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championships.
The network has a deal for Embassy Row to produce live pre- and post-game shows as well as digital content around BBC America coverage of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship, one of Europe's biggest annual sporting events.
BBC America starts its second year live coverage of the legendary tournament, featuring the national rugby teams of England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Wales and France, on Saturday, Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m. ET.
The channel will broadcast five matches live over seven weeks, each wrapped with 30-minute live pre- and post-game shows.
The new shows will focus on key elements of the matches and feature interviews with celebrity guests including actor and avid rugby fan Billy Campbell (The 4400, Once and Again) and experts, field pieces and weekly awards.
In the lead up to the championship, Embassy Row will create digital content including videos and podcasts to be distributed online and at BBCAmerica.com.
The slate features recurring comedic and factual series such as Rugby 101 and a light-hearted comparison of American football versus rugby.
BBC America is also launching an aggressive outreach program to the rugby community including youth leagues, women's leagues and network-sponsored watch parties with hardcore fans at pubs across the country.
Next week it expects to announce a partnership with location-based mobile platform Foursquare as well as a marketing campaign with Bottle Rocket Marketing Group.
Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, BBC Worldwide America, said in a release: "As part of BBC America's new commitment to original programming and in recognition of rugby's devoted and growing following in the U.S., we are pleased to take our broadcast and digital coverage of 6 Nations Rugby to the next level, and Embassy Row is the perfect partner for this initiative. Beyond their major successes across multiple programming genres and platforms, Embassy Row has specifically delivered compelling and innovative content around sports including the 2010 FIFA World Cup."
Michael Davies, president of Embassy Row, added in the release: "I have been a lifelong fan of rugby and grew up watching the BBC's coverage of these matches. In fact, I watched every match broadcast by BBC America last year. I am passionate about bringing this compelling sport to an even larger U.S. audience in addition to ex-pats like myself. I am inspired by BBC America's recent commitment to original programming and am delighted to be a part of their plan."
Davies was instrumental in bringing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to U.S. television and recent credits include Watch What Happens Live, The Newlywed Game, Wife Swap and content for ESPN's 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage.