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Rugby’s back! The Houston SaberCats have started their 2020 season at Aveva Stadium. Here’s the team’s schedule and roster

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Houston, TX (KTRK) — The Houston SaberCats 2020 season is here!

The Houston SaberCats are an American professional rugby team, founded in 2017. The SaberCats are one of seven original teams of Major League Rugby (MLR). The MLR has expanded to nine teams in 2019 and will expand again in 2020 to 12 teams – or more. Since playing their first game in 2018, the Houston SaberCats have made their mark as one of Houston’s top sports teams.

In 2019, the Houston City Council approved the construction of a $3.2 million rugby stadium – Aveva Stadium. The SaberCats are excited to have played their first game at their new stadium on January 25 against their biggest rival, Nola Gold.

After the approval of Aveva Stadium, the SaberCats named JT Onyett as President of the organization in June 2019. When appointed he commented, “I look forward to building on what the great SaberCats staff and players have already started as we look toward the future. Sport is about bringing people together and AVEVA Stadium will be a community stage year-round. We will work hard to not only make SaberCats matches exciting events but also fully utilize AVEVA stadium 365 days a year to bring more sports and entertainment to Houston.”

The SaberCats will play 17 games this season, competing again teams from all around the world including Seattle Seawolves, Utha Warriors, Colorado Raptors and Toronto Arrows.

Want to go to a game? Here’s the Houston SaberCats schedule. The Houston SaberCats encourage Houstonians to learn more about rugby and to check out one of their 2020 games.



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Blind auction for English Premier League rights could reshape Aussie streaming landscape

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Well-placed industry sources expect the rights could cost up to $75-$80 million annually, over a three-year period. However, given the anticipated level of competition, they could go for even more money, with the blind auction to be conducted in November, according to the sources.

Australia’s streaming market has evolved dramatically since Optus first won the EPL rights seven years ago for a reported $50 million per year. Back then, Optus was just a telco provider, and none of Kayo Sports, Amazon Prime, Paramount+ or Stan Sport even existed.

Football rights have become heavily fragmented in Australia, and the EPL looms as a content offering that could be make or break for the future of several services.

Optus has more than 900,000 active subscribers and, according to sources, is keen to retain the EPL rights but will not spend irrationally to keep them. The company recently lost the UEFA Champions League to Stan Sport, but won the rights to broadcast the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and has used its football offering to convert viewers into mobile phone and internet customers under a strategy first hatched by ex-chief executive Allan Lew.

Stan Sport – which is owned by Nine Entertainment Co, the publisher of this masthead – could use the EPL to compliment their UEFA rights, but may also struggle financially to secure them. Shares in Nine fell 10 per cent following annual results when investors flinched at the cost associated with investing in sports rights for Stan’s new sports arm. Nine boss Mike Sneesby said at the company’s annual results that it would only bid on sports if they made sense commercially.

Foxtel is expected to look at obtaining the rights, other industry sources said, but it is not a key part of the media company’s future strategy.

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Amazon and Paramount+, which is owned by ViacomCBS, both have the capacity to table much higher bids given the wealth of their parent companies. Amazon Prime has the rights to 20 Premier League matches per season in the UK, and has begun experimenting with sports broadcasting in Australia after becoming Swimming Australia’s exclusive broadcast partner.

Paramount+ has also used football as the cornerstone of its sport offering overseas, and particularly in the United States. It has already committed to spending approximately $300 million on sports rights earlier this year after securing the A-League and W-League, as well as Matildas and Socceroos matches – some of which will be shown on Network Ten.

According to a survey conducted by Gemba on the streaming market in Australia conducted shortly after Paramount+ launched in Australia on August 11, just four per cent of households have access to the service, compared to Stan Sport (seven per cent), Amazon (24 per cent), Optus (10 per cent), Kayo Sports (14 per cent) and Netflix (66 per cent).

The survey also shows that despite the frustrations of many viewers over the fragmentation of sports rights, people are continuing to spend more on streaming services. It found 85 per cent of Australians subscribe to a sport, entertainment or music service – up five per cent from 2020. The average person has 3.6 subscriptions, and only 20 per cent of people are planning to reduce their spend on streaming services in the next three months, which shows why more companies are eager to enter such an already competitive market.

“The sport and entertainment we’re passionate about, and we love engaging with, it’s very rarely a rational decision. It’s an emotional decision,” Mr Condon said. “The thought of not being able to follow my team or keep abreast of my sport like I did five years ago is probably too much for most fans. I think that’s why you’re starting to see that propensity to purchase is continuing to go up.”

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Five major talking points from this weekend’s Super League action

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So, today we closed the book on the regular season for another year and it sure has been memorable. At the top we’ve enjoyed a fantastic two-way battle for the League Leaders’ Shield which ended when Catalans came up with an unthinkable come back to become only the eighth side to claim the silverware. Meanwhile, four teams battled hard for play-off rugby in a tussle which went all the way to the final week. The bottom of the league hasn’t be as dull as you might think despite Leigh’s plight after all a number of the lower ranked teams have orchestrated upsets a plenty.

But now that all is said and done, what are the major talking points coming out of the final weekend?

1. The same old teams finding form at just the right time

Whether it was Wigan’s perfectly timed march to the double or Leeds back-to-back titles from fifth, the two clubs are well versed in securing Grand Final glory from outside the top two. In fact, the fourth-placed Warriors are the only club to win at Old Trafford from that spot whilst the fifth-placed Rhinos are the only side who have won the Grand Final from that particular league position and it again seems like both have found some form at just the right time. This week, Wigan came up with a season-best performance to beat league leaders Catalans whilst Leeds dismantled Hull KR at Headingley to go into the play-offs brimming with confidence. Both are a major threat to the top two if they can replicate those performances but only one can advance to the semi-finals after their meeting next week.

2. What next for Hull FC?

Hull were humbled at Wakefield on Friday night as their end of season collapsed reached an agonising end. They finish the year with one win from 10 which is an all too familiar situation for the Black and Whites. There’s a rumoured overhaul coming in the winter but which players should stay and which will be shown the door? There’s undoubted quality in that squad and an exciting – albeit unexperienced – Head Coach at the helm. If they make the right decisions over the off-season, perhaps they can turn the corner.

3. Considering Daryl Powell’s Castleford legacy

Daryl Powell’s legacy at the Jungle is a hard one to judge and his time there certainly didn’t have the ending he’d have hoped for. Ultimately, looking back it should be considered a success. He ensured the Tigers could again be referred to as classy Cas and made them a serious threat at the top guiding them to two Challenge Cup Finals and a Grand Final. You have to say he deserved a major final win for the way he transformed the club but still it alluded him and that will be a slight sully on his legacy. Nonetheless, he leaves the club in a better state than when he took over.

4. Time to give promoted teams a better crack

Today, Leigh’s season ended with a 42-24 defeat to Huddersfield. It rounded off a difficult year for the Centurions in which they were only able to win two games. Things were always going to be tough especially as they were forced to begin their recruitment after all of their rivals and to be honest that’s true of most promoted sides as they can’t promise their potential targets Super League rugby until after October. Thus, they’re always at a disadvantage when they finally begin the Super League season so it’s time to ask whether or not we need to do more to support promoted teams and give them a better chance of survival. Ultimately, this would make for a better more competitive season.

5. What Williams gives Warrington

Before Warrington ended Castleford’s season, questions were asked about George Williams. On Sky Sports the likes of Phil Clark questioned how much he’d changed the Wolves since taking over from the talented Blake Austin in the halves and whether or not he’d improved them. Ultimately, the last 10 minutes of that dramatic encounter showed exactly what Williams brings to Warrington. His intelligence and nuanced kicking game took the game away from the Tigers in the end and it’s that extra element that saw the Wolves pounce when he became available.




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Sports TV listings for Sunday Sept. 19 | Professional

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11:30 a.m.; Peacock, Premier League, Chelsea at Tottenham

12 p.m.; Big Ten Network, College Women, Penn St. at Rutgers

2:40 p.m.; CBS Sports Network, Serie A, AC Milan at Juventas

4 p.m.; Pac-12 Network, College Women, Cal State Northridge at Southern Cal

4 p.m.; ESPN, Major League Soccer, Orlando at Philadelphia 

7 p.m.; ACC Network, College Men, Duke at North Carolina

7:30 p.m.; Fox Sports 1, Major League Soccer, L.A. FC at Portland

8 p.m.; Pac-12 Network, College Women, Santa Clara at Stanford

8 p.m.; Fox Sports 2,  Liga MX, Tigres at Monterrey

10 p.m.; Pac-12 Network, College Men, California at UCLA

Noon; Fox Sports 1, Athletes Unlimited, Team Ocasio vs. Team Jaquish, at Rosemont Ill.

4 p.m.; Fox Sports 2, Athletes Unlimited, Team Osterman vs. Team Chidester

9 a.m.; Tennis Channel, WTA Tour, finals in Luxembourg and Portoroz

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