New Zealand’s premier sporting team will soon have a financial stake in the country’s largest pay-tv provider in what is being dubbed a ‘revolutionary’ TV rights deal.
After a series of leaks, the New Zealand All Blacks and Sky New Zealand today made the announcement, which will see Sky hold broadcast rights over all All Blacks, Super Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup and other domestic competitions until the end of 2025.
If the deal had not been struck by Sunday, the rights could have been opened up to other bidders.
But the biggest talking point from the deal is the news New Zealand Rugby (NZR) will now hold a five per cent stake in the broadcaster as part of the agreement.
It means the NZR is now the first sporting organisation to be a financial investor in the broadcaster.
“A special part of this deal is the five per cent equity stake that NZR is taking in Sky,” said Sky chief executive Martin Stewart.
“We have long known that there is mutual benefit when each of us succeeds and we’re pleased that NZR is becoming an investor in Sky.”
NZR CEO Steve Tew added: “This is a great result for NZR.”
“We not only have a vastly experienced broadcast partner, but we have a partner prepared to work and invest with us in initiatives that will help grow the game over a prolonged period of time.”
“For rugby in New Zealand, this is a hugely significant agreement that secures the long-term financial health of our game.”
Although no financial details of the deal have been released, some reports have suggested it is around the $400m mark.
Following news of the agreement, Sky’s share prices jumped 19 per cent.
The enormous deal comes at a turbulent for sports broadcasting across the Tasman.
The nation’s dominant telco Spark is currently making a significant play into streaming with its ‘Spark Sport’ service.
The telco recently stole the domestic cricket broadcast rights from Sky for the next six years and it has also been broadcasting the current Rugby World Cup in Japan on the service.
The World Cup coverage has caused considerable unrest among viewers, however, with complaints of lost audio and disorganised broadcasting.