The Netball New Zealand (NZZ) governing body has announced that the 2024 edition of the country’s top-tier netball competition, the ANZ Premiership, will have its Saturday afternoon games broadcast on free-to-air channels throughout the season.

Pay-TV heavyweight Sky NZ currently holds the rights to the ANZ Premiership, but through a new deal, one match per round from each of the 15 regular season rounds of the competition will be broadcast on free-to-air broadcaster TVNZ.

Each Saturday fixture, all of which will take place at 4pm local time, will be broadcast on the network’s secondary channel, TVNZ2, as well as on its TVNZ+ over-the-top streaming service.

Jennie Wyllie, NNZ chief executive, stated of the deal: “We’re excited to be able to offer free-to-air netball at a family-friendly time of 4 pm on Saturday afternoons in the knowledge that the next generation of young New Zealand netballers have the opportunity to watch their idols in action on television.”

The deal will begin on Saturday April 13 with the 4pm season opening fixture between Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the Northern Mystics.

Sky has broadcast the ANZ Premiership since its formation in 2016, but now more and more domestic sports in New Zealand are heading towards free-to-air platforms to grow exposure, with Sky allowing its partnered sports properties to do so.

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Earlier in March it was announced that the country’s National Basketball League, also broadcast by Sky, will showcase 16 games through the season on social media video platform TikTok.

The deal, which the NBL claimed is a “world-first initiative”, involves one game per week (Wednesday nights) being made available globally on Sky's TikTok channel throughout the season.

This FTA approach also extends to more global sports leagues for which TVNZ has acquired rights such as Japan’s Rugby League One, which TVNZ acquired the rights to broadcast midseason in December 2023.

That season had originally started without a committed broadcaster in New Zealand after reports said that talks with Sky had stalled over the number of games it would have to commit to airing.