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TVNZ and Spark have won the rights to broadcast the 2019 Rugby World Cup – and while some games will be broadcast free, Kiwi rugby fans are going to have to dig into their pockets to watch every match.
The successful bid for New Zealand’s television rights for the 2019 tournament was confirmed in a joint release from TVNZ and Spark on Monday morning (NZT) and lauded as the first time since 2007 that New Zealanders would be able to see the games without paying.
“Our agreement will broaden the availability of New Zealand’s biggest sport and give viewers even more choice,” TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick said.
“Together we’re committed to delivering a fantastic viewing experience for all New Zealanders – making the most of Spark’s leading digital technology and distribution capabilities and TVNZ’s unrivalled audience reach and content expertise.”
Spark signed the deal over the weekend with World Rugby, Spark managing director Simon Moutter said.
When the 2019 Rugby World Cup begins, viewers could download an app onto any device and stream live, or watch a back catalogue of games.
The service would offer both free and paid content and be available to all New Zealanders – not just Spark customers.
However, some rural customers may not be able to stream the games.
The pricing would be “lower than most people would expect”, he told Radio NZ.
“If you were buying a tournament pass, I think $100 – plus some, minus some, in that sort of territory.
“Bear in mind, one single ticket to the Lions tour game last year was $149.”
Their successful bid is part of a larger package that will also bring New Zealanders the 2021 Women’s World Cup, the 2018 World Cup Sevens and 2018 and ’19 World Rugby U20 Championships.
Spark has entered into an agreement with TVNZ, which will see the 2018 World Cup Sevens, the 2018 under-20 championship and selected matches from the 2019 Rugby World Cup screen free-to-air on TVNZ.
Free-to-air coverage of the 2021 women’s World Cup would be confirmed closer to the tournament date.
TVNZ confirmed it will screen seven 2019 Rugby World Cup matches live – including the opening match and the final – which is the same number offered free-to-air in 2015. It will also air a yet-to-be-confirmed number of delayed matches.
It said advertisements won’t run in live game time. Details of these matches will be released in the coming months.
But rugby fans wanting to watch every match will have to pay, Spark confirmed. The tournament will be offered on a pay-to-watch basis, with packages to include a tournament pass and passes for individual matches.