A petition has been launched by internet provider Orcon calling for the New Zealand Rugby Union to stream live coverage of all national team All Blacks games online in the country.
According to the Stuff news website, Orcon said that offering a streaming option would mean fans would not have to buy an “expensive Sky subscription” to watch the games.
Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand and the sport’s national governing body have refused to comment on the petition. Sky has held the exclusive rights for All Blacks games in New Zealand since 1996.
Orcon, which is owned by the CallPlus telecommunications company, highlighted the fact that rugby fans overseas are able to watch the All Blacks play live online for US$7 (€5.40) – an option not open to people in New Zealand.
“If you look at comments online or read the forums, you'll see Kiwis are sick of not having the same options as people living overseas,” Orcon general manager Michael Shirley said. “We get that Sky provides other content in addition to rugby… however with the number of online content streaming options now available, a lot of people would save a lot of money if they could get their sport somewhere else.
“New Zealand Rugby has admitted it is watching the broadcasting landscape with considerable interest following the English Premier League Football TV rights deal, and it's encouraging to see that the US PGA (golf) Tour looks set to be streamed online.”