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Netball NZ maintains Sky connection

Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand has agreed a three-year extension to its rights partnership with Netball NZ, locking down another of its sports properties.

Sky’s existing agreement with Netball NZ was due to run through the 2021 season and the new deal extends the broadcaster’s ties with the sport’s national governing body through to the end of the 2024 campaign.

The agreement includes all national team games and all domestic top tier events, including the Constellation Cup, ANZ Premiership matches, the national netball league and national age group championship matches.

Sky will offer its netball content broadcast over the satellite on Sky Sport 3, streamed on Sky Go and Sky Sport Now, and free-to-air on the Prime channel.

Netball NZ chief executive, Jennie Wyllie, said in a statement: “Netball is the number one female team sport in New Zealand with around 145,000 players across the country. We’re excited about the opportunity this renewed agreement presents in terms of showing more netball to New Zealand fans, the financial certainty that comes with a multi-year deal, and Sky’s commitment to working with us to grow the game.

“Sky has shown a genuine commitment to women’s sport in New Zealand, and it’s great to be working together on some new initiatives at the grassroots level. We look forward to announcing details soon.”

Speaking to the Stuff.co.nz website, Wyllie said Netball NZ took the decision to strike an early extension with Sky in a bid to build on New Zealand’s triumph at the 2019 Netball World Cup, which took place in Liverpool, England from July 12-21.

She added that the organisation didn’t hold talks with telco Spark, adding that the prospect of moving to its Spark Sport streaming service “didn’t enter into our discussion”.

Wyllie said: “From our perspective netball is in a really good space at the moment and Sky has been a great partner so it seems a good time to engage in these discussions, and they were obviously open to it too.”

Today’s (Tuesday’s) announcement marks the latest in a flurry of high profile sports rights deals in New Zealand. Sky last week extended its rights deal with New Zealand Rugby, with the “revolutionary” new contract involving the sport’s national governing body becoming an investor in the broadcaster.

Spark recently landed another blow in its ongoing battle with Sky by replacing the broadcaster as New Zealand Cricket’s domestic rights-holder in its latest tie-up with public broadcaster TVNZ. Sky also extended an exclusive agreement with the International Cricket Council to continue delivering coverage of its events for the next four years.