RugbyPass have secured the rights to stream Super Rugby Aotearoa
Who will broadcast Super Rugby in the UK in 2021?
RugbyPass has secured the rights to stream Super Rugby Aotearoa in the UK and Ireland this season.
The online platform has announced a partnership with New Zealand Rugby to stream live matches each weekend in 100 territories, including the UK, Ireland and Europe.
Super Rugby Aotearoa features the five New Zealand franchises – Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes – and kicks off on Friday, with two matches each weekend leading up to the final on 8 May.
RugbyPass will show both matches live each weekend, with weekly passes available for £6.99/€7.99 and season-long passes £34.99/€39.99.
Sky Sports has been the long-running broadcaster of matches from the southern hemisphere’s big club competition in the UK, but its rights deal came to an end last year.
There is still no UK broadcast deal in place for Australia’s Super Rugby AU, which kicked off last weekend, but RugbyPass will now deliver coverage of the Aotearoa competition through its OTT streaming service.
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New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said: “The hype around Super Rugby Aotearoa globally last year was incredible as New Zealand was fortunate enough to be one of the first countries in the world to enjoy live sport with crowds. The rugby was fantastic and the fans loved it.
“We are set for another phenomenal year – and to be doing something different by partnering with RugbyPass to deliver our competition to fans worldwide is really exciting.”
The time difference means these matches usually have early-morning kick-offs on Friday and Saturday in the UK – there are even a few ‘middle of the night’ fixtures with afternoon start times in New Zealand’s competition this year – but RugbyPass viewers will be able to watch matches on demand should they want a lie-in!
As for Super Rugby AU, it looks like fans in the northern hemisphere will have to settle for highlights online in 2021.
Sky’s rugby coverage has continued to dwindle over the years and its loss of Super Rugby means the British & Irish Lions tour is the only event left on its roster.
Obviously the pandemic has impacted all areas of business and many budgets have been cut, but lockdown has meant that TV companies have a captive audience, with live sport a big attraction, so the absence of Super Rugby from UK TV screens seems like an opportunity missed.
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