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ARU confirms big increase in fee as Fox Sports, Ten secure coverage

Pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports has retained rights in Australia for Test matches and tournaments operated by Sanzar, rugby union’s governing body in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Under the deal, the Australian Rugby Union will receive a total of A$285m (€189m/$205m) over five years, from 2016 to 2020 – a 148-per-cent increase on the previous rights cycle, from 2011 to 2015.

Fox Sports will provide live coverage of all Test matches played in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as the expanded 18-team Super Rugby competition, which will for the first time feature teams from Argentina and Japan in 2016.

Australian commercial broadcaster Ten has agreed a sublicensing deal with Fox Sports in order to simulcast all Australia domestic Test matches, the Bledisloe Cup games between Australia and New Zealand, and all Australia matches in the Rugby Championship, which features the national teams of Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

Ten will also show a full replay of the Australian Super Rugby match of the round every Sunday morning and a one-hour Super Rugby highlights show every Monday night. Ten will also broadcast full replays of all Super Rugby finals matches featuring an Australian team.

Fox Sports’ deal also includes exclusive coverage of the National Rugby Championship in Australia and the top domestic competitions in New Zealand and South Africa.

"To achieve a 148-per-cent growth in revenue from your broadcast outcome, I suspect is the largest increase of any code and it reflects, I think, the growing status that we enjoy in the Australian sporting landscape, and I'm confident that that sort of trend will continue,” ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said.

Pulver said that the new rights deal would allow A$10m per year to be ploughed into the country’s provinces over the next five years.