UK pay-TV heavyweight Sky has today (November 2) unveiled the renewal of its long-standing relationship with the British and Irish Lions rugby union touring side.
Through the extension, the network will now cover the Lions’ 2025 tour of Australia, the team's first trip to the country since a famous series victory in 2013.
Sky has covered every Lions tour live in the UK since 1997 and the composite team's 2-1 series victory in South Africa. The Lions team is made up of players from England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
Lions series form the main part of Sky's current rugby union offering, alongside a deal with the sport’s governing body in the southern hemisphere, Sanzaar, running through 2025.
In terms of home international fixtures played by the various UK nations, however, it currently holds no coverage rights.
Ben Calveley, the British and Irish Lions’ chief executive, said: “Sky Sports has been an outstanding broadcast partner to the British and Irish Lions for many years. The quality of production, presenters, expert panelists, and overall analysis it delivers really enriches the series and makes for a compelling offering for fans watching at home.
“Preparations are really starting to ramp up for 2025 and we are hugely excited for the tour. Sky Sports will play a key role in helping to further build levels of excitement and anticipation amongst fans and we look forward to working closely with them over the coming period.”
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Jonathan Licht, managing director at Sky Sports, added: “With all its history, the Lions tour remains one of the most iconic events in the sporting calendar and one we always look forward to at Sky Sports. We’re committed to delivering world-class coverage of what is sure to be another fantastic series.”
The 2025 Lions tour of Australia will run from late June to early August, with three test matches scheduled – in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
A decade ago, the Australian broadcast partners for that Lions series were Foxtel and Network Ten.
In mid-October, the Lions unveiled IMG, the global sports and entertainment agency, as their worldwide licensing agency through to 2027.
Howden, the international insurance group, was named as a new Lions principal partner in July, meanwhile, securing front-of-shirt sponsorship rights for the Australia tour.
The last Lions tour saw the team lose a three-match series 2-1 against South Africa in 2021.
Sky, meanwhile, confirmed the extension of its deal with the Super League, rugby league’s top-tier competition in the UK, in mid-October.