Sky TV agrees deal for all World Rugby premium competitions from 2023-2029
Daniel Tobin / Stuff
Sky bought Dublin-based RugbyPass, which provides news and information to rugby fans around the world, in 2019.
Sky Television has finalized a rugby rights deal with World Rugby which will also see it sell its loss-making rugby news site RugbyPass to World Rugby.
World Rugby will acquire RugbyPass and Sky will have exclusive rights to premium competitions, including Rugby World Cups, for seven years.
The deal will include all men’s and women’s rugby world cups, the new WXV (women’s international competition at 15) and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series.
Sky had announced on July 18 that it was in “advanced negotiations” with World Rugby over the rights deal and there was speculation days later that the sale of RugbyPass would be part of the package.
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Shares of Sky TV were trading thin on confirmation of the deals, opening down 2 cents at $2.20 on the NZX.
RugbyPass offers news, opinion and statistics about the game, including a system that ranks players and teams, with some of its content behind a paywall for which it charges subscribers $1.99 ($3.50 USD) per month.
Sky bought Dublin-based RugbyPass in 2019 in a deal which at the time was said to cost $40 million.
However, about a third of the purchase price included payments that depended on the company’s future performance, of which only $1.7 million has so far been paid.
JASON DORDAY / TRICKS
Half the population is female and women’s sport provides “brilliant content that people want to watch”, said Sky TV chief executive Sophie Moloney.
Sky chief executive Sophie Moloney said the deal guaranteed exclusive access to all of World Rugby’s premium competitions for many years.
“We are delighted to be able to bring these to all New Zealanders on the Sky Box, our streaming services and free-to-air.
“The partnership includes an agreement to co-produce exciting new programming with a focus on women’s football, a strategic priority for Sky and World Rugby. We look forward to working together to tell stories that motivate, inspire and challenge,” she said.
“Over the past two years RugbyPass has focused on growing its audience and network of activities, and it is an exciting transition for the RugbyPass team to enter the World Rugby family and work with World Rugby to fulfill its strategic mission to develop the sport globally.
World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said the deal reflected World Rugby’s mission to make the sport more accessible.
“Not only does the agreement offer New Zealanders the certainty of a world-class destination for all of World Rugby’s premium competitions through to 2029, including four Rugby World Cups, by acquiring RugbyPass, it also allows World Rugby to broaden the reach of all our stakeholders.”