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Sky NZ backs streaming platform showcasing grassroots sports

Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand has committed to providing extensive free coverage of domestic sport through backing a new venture entitled the New Zealand Sport Collective.

New Zealand Sport Collective involves more than 50 national sports organisations and rights-holders. Together, they will be part of Sky Sport Next, a platform designed to be a launching pad for some of New Zealand’s most popular grassroots sports and rising young talent.

Through Sky Sport Next, New Zealanders will get free access to watch more than 50 different sports and thousands of events, many of which wouldn’t have otherwise been live streamed or broadcast.

The events will be streamed, and highlights packages available, on the Sky Sport Next YouTube channel and some content will be broadcast on Sky Sport, the streaming service Sky Sport Now, and Sky’s free-to-air channel Prime.

Sky Sport Next will showcase Olympic disciplines such as athletics, gymnastics, swimming and climbing, broadcasting international home games and events not currently on Sky Sport, and national championships across many grades.

In line with its commitment to support women in sport, Sky said it aims to have an equal mix of male and female representation on Sky Sport Next.

Sky chief executive Martin Stewart said: “We understand the importance of a sustainable future for New Zealand sport and are proud to be investing more than NZ$10m (€5.8m/$6.4m) over the next three years to give over 50 Kiwi sports a chance to be seen and to grow. Sky Sport Next is a tangible way we can give back to our communities and support sports and talent that don’t currently get a lot of exposure.”

The New Zealand Sport Collective is being led by Olympian and former America’s Cup sailor Rob Waddell. He said: “The scale of our collaboration is unprecedented, and many sports that previously had little in the way of funding and exposure will now be seen on New Zealand’s most prominent sports broadcaster.

“Together we want to inspire more Kiwis to play sport, and work with sports codes to reduce the barriers for young people to participate. It’s an exciting era for New Zealand sport.”

Today’s announcement continues a busy period of sports deals for Sky. Earlier this week, Sky acquired rights to the 2022 and 2026 Commonwealth Games, while the broadcaster has also sealed agreements with New Zealand Rugby, the International Cricket Council and Netball NZ over the past month.