Spark and TVNZ to team up for 2019 Rugby World Cup rights bid
Spark, the New Zealand telecommunications company, and TVNZ, the public-service broadcaster, are set to mount a joint bid for rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in the hope of defeating dominant pay-television operator Sky.
Spark would likely to stream matches over the internet, with TVNZ providing free-to-air coverage, according to reports in New Zealand.
Rights for the 2019 World Cup in Japan are being marketed by IMG, the international sports and entertainment company.
The duo would have to submit a strong bid to oust Sky, which has established itself as the TV home of the All Blacks, the back-to-back world champions.
Matches involving the All Blacks at the 2015 World Cup in England were shown live in full on Prime, Sky’s free-to-air channel, which also offered daily extended highlights from the tournament. Sky broadcast live all 48 matches on its pay-television, digital and mobile platforms.
Sky also delivered the host broadcast services and world feed for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, albeit domestic coverage was shared with free-to-air broadcasters Maori TV, TVNZ and TV3.
Sky, New Zealand Rugby's exclusive broadcast partner since 1996, holds rights to All Blacks matches in a five-year deal that expires in 2020, and covers the Rugby Championship, Super Rugby, international tours and domestic provincial competitions.