In 365 days time, the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony will begin and one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events of 2015 will be underway.
Former Ireland legend Keith Wood is the first panelist to be confirmed by TV3 for their coverage of the tournament with Matt Cooper acting as the presenter.
Under the terms of the deal, TV3 will manage the broadcast of live coverage of all 48 matches and will also deliver a TV, digital and mobile highlights offering.
All of the Ireland matches and final stages of the tournament will be broadcast free to air. TV3, as the broadcaster with the most advanced HD infrastructure in Ireland, is currently in discussion with platform operators to carry TV3 HD from mid-2015.
The former British and Lions hooker said: “I’m delighted to be joining the TV3 Rugby World Cup team and I’m really looking forward to working with them on the stand-out TV event of 2015.
“It’s very exciting. I got the chance to play at three World Cups but I haven’t ever had a chance to commentate on one. It’s a lovely idea that a year out from a World Cup that you can get all of your preparations in place, just like the team have to do. TV3 haven’t done rugby for quite a while. We need to put a lot of effort in to make certain bits right on the day.”
Niall Cogley, TV3 Group Director of Broadcasting, said: “We are delighted to have Keith Wood on board. Keith is uniquely placed to bring critical analysis and rugby experience to the panel. Rugby following in Ireland is at an all-time high following the recent success of Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team in the Six Nations.
“With exactly one year to go, the countdown is officially underway. In the coming months we’ll have further announcements in relation to our coverage of the tournament and of course our plans to roll out HD in time for the event.”
Detailed plans for TV3’s coverage are now advancing. It is expected that the broadcaster will broadcast about 20 matches on TV3 and the remainder on 3e although TV3 has not ruled out some sub-licenses to other Irish broadcasters.
TV3 also confirms it is in discussions with respective platforms regarding the launch of TV3 HD in the first half of 2015.