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Sky NZ to incorporate Rugby Channel into regular sports offer

New Zealand pay-television broadcaster Sky will incorporate the standalone Rugby Channel into its regular offering from August 1.

Local media outlet Stuff reported that the decision was an acknowledgement that Sky “had not managed to ‘upsell’ enough customers to the specialist channel to make it worth carving it out into a separate paid offering”.

The Rugby Channel was an add-on available only to subscribers of its main sports package. It closes after 17 years on the air, having launched in 2002.

Several local media outlets reported that the broadcaster had written to subscribers, promising as an alternative “a hugely expanded Sky Sports channel lineup launch [including] a 24/7 rugby channel”.

Sky confirmed to local sources that the new channel will be made available to Sky Sports subscribers at no extra cost, though offered no further detail on how it would be structured at this time.