The deal will enable Sky to show at least 150 fixtures a year from the domestic and international competitions headlined by the annual Rugby Championship. Sky Sports customers will also be able to watch live and exclusive coverage of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales on their summer tours. This includes England v Australia in 2016 and South Africa in 2018 as well as Ireland in South Africa and Wales against New Zealand in 2016.
In addition to the international Rugby Championship, Sky will air domestic matches from southern hemisphere competitions Super Rugby, ITM Cup, the Currie Cup, and the National Rugby Championship.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “This deal offers our viewers more mouth-watering fixtures from the world’s best teams that have been entertaining fans throughout the Rugby World Cup. As well as the Rugby Championship, we also have the next two England summer tours, fascinating home nations fixtures and of course, more of the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks and Argentina than anywhere else. Add this to our current year round schedule and our viewers can now enjoy more live rugby union than ever before.”
Mark Alexander, SANZAR chairman, said: “SANZAR is delighted to be renewing its broadcasting deal with Sky Sports that has been our valued partner for the past 20 years since the inception of professional rugby in 1996. We have a very strong fan base in the United Kingdom and Ireland and it is important for us that they can see as much SANZAR content as possible. Sky Sports delivers this for us.”