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Sky set to seal Sanzar rights deal, NZRU confirms

Pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand has struck a deal in principle to renew a media rights contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), the national governing body of rugby union, and its Sanzar partners in the southern hemisphere.

The “conditional” five-year agreement, to run from 2016 to 2020, is expected to be signed off by the end of November, the union announced today (Friday). The NZRU is one third of Sanzar, which also comprises rugby union’s national associations in South Africa and Australia.

Financial details have not been disclosed due to the ongoing negotiations.

The union’s chief executive, Steve Tew, said: “We would have (gone to the open market) if we thought it was beneficial to New Zealand rugby, but in the end decided it wasn't. We think it's a great result for rugby and a great result for Sky.”

Tew added that the deal would give the governing body the opportunity to “develop their own platforms.”

He said: “We are thrilled to have achieved what is a great result for rugby in this country. This will provide a platform to showcase our game at all levels and further secures the future of rugby in this country. We will now move to finalise the agreement and will comment further once Sanzar concludes rights agreements across all territories, which is an ongoing process.”