RugbyPass, the international over-the-top digital media platform owned by Sky New Zealand, has entered into a streaming rights deal with New Zealand Rugby for the upcoming Steinlager Series involving New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and the Maori All Blacks.
The partnership extends exclusively over 60 countries, including the UK and Ireland , and will involve RugbyPass streaming the following four matches from the series: Maori All Blacks v Samoa; New Zealand v Tonga; and two editions of New Zealand v Fiji.
The encounter between the Maori All Blacks and Tonga will take place in Auckland on 3 July, with games running to 17 July and taking place in different cities across New Zealand.
The fixtures will be available to watch both live and on-demand in countries without existing broadcast deals in place, and a match day pass will available for $10.
Neil Martin, chief executive of RugbyPass, said: “Our streaming service offers rugby fans across the globe the chance to watch an epic festival of All Blacks, Māori All Blacks and Pasifika rugby matches and we know fans will be just as thrilled as we are to be able to watch and enjoy these four matches live and on demand.”
Mark Robinson, chief executive of New Zealand Rugby, added: “Fans around the world will be looking forward to an exciting few weeks and the chance to watch some exciting rugby. It promises to be a celebration of the amazing talent and special culture that make our game so diverse, and so exciting to watch.”
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RugbyPass has already dealt with NZR, in February secured the rights to stream Super Rugby Aotearoa, the domestic competition in New Zealand, across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
The partnership between NZR and RugbyPass saw the OTT service provide live coverage of Super Rugby Aotearoa in 100 territories for the 2021 season.
Sky New Zealand acquired RugbyPass for $40 million in August 2019 from a USA-based private investment firm, Cooper and Company.
The service has also held rights to live-stream The Rugby Championship, the southern hemisphere’s national teams competition, and the original Super Rugby competition in 62 countries in Asia, Europe and Australia, while also producing its own original rugby-related content.
Elsewhere, Starzplay, the subscription video on-demand service, has entered into a carriage deal across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with Premier Sports, the UK and Ireland pay-TV broadcaster, to show the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, with the first match taking place tomorrow.
Through the partnership, Starzplay will add the Premier Sports channel to its existing line-up for the duration of the tour, which will comprise five warm-up games leading into three tests against South Africa, starting on 24 July.
Maaz Sheikh, chief executive and co-founder at Starzplay, said: “We are delighted to bring this much-awaited tour to millions of rugby enthusiasts across the MENA region.”
Michael O’Rourke, Premier Sports’ chief executive, added: "We are committed to bringing our customers the very best rugby action featuring the world’s best players and our deal with Starzplay will further enable us to deliver the action-packed sport to rugby enthusiasts in the region”.