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Sky converts Sanzar rights extension

UK pay-television broadcaster Sky has agreed a five-year extension to its rights contract with Sanzar, the umbrella body for the Australian, New Zealand and South African rugby unions.

Under the terms of the new contract, which runs from 2016 to 2020, Sky Sports viewers will be offered at least 150 fixtures a year from domestic and international competitions headlined by the annual Rugby Championship national team event contested by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

As part of the agreement, Sky Sports will also show all of the ‘home nations’ on their summer tours of the region. This includes England taking on Australia in 2016 and South Africa in 2018, as well as Ireland in South Africa and Wales against New Zealand in 2016.

Sanzar club competition Super Rugby is also part of the deal, as well as domestic tournaments including New Zealand’s ITM Cup, South Africa’s Currie Cup and Australia’s National Rugby Championship.

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 UK and Ireland and it is important for us that they can see as much Sanzar content as possible.”

The deal was first reported in TV Sports Markets on October 31, 2014.