Rugby Union

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The British & Irish Lions touring side maintained the value of its media rights in the UK and Ireland in a deal with pay-television broadcaster Sky for next year’s tour of South Africa.

Premiership Rugby, operator of the top division of English rugby union, is entering the final season of its domestic rights deal with BT with no clear plan for the forthcoming cycle after rejecting a robust renewal offer, industry sources told SportBusiness Media.

Six Nations Rugby, the organising body of the annual national team tournament, has paused the sales process for the next cycle of domestic and international rights to the Six Nations and Autumn Internationals due to the widespread uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

South African pay-television broadcaster Supersport is finalising deals to renew its rights for Sanzaar and South African Rugby Union properties for the 2021-25 cycle, SportBusiness Media understands.

The battle between Sky and Spark for control of New Zealand’s sports broadcasting and streaming market has resulted in a major revenue increase for rugby union rights-holders New Zealand Rugby and Sanzaar.

BT Sport has struck a deal with Premiership Rugby that will see it air every game that is played behind closed doors for the rest of the season after the league’s resumption.

The British & Irish Lions rugby union body will restart the invitation to tender process in August for free-to-air highlights rights in the UK to next year’s Great Britain and Ireland tour of South Africa.

The low value of Rugby Australia's recent media-rights agreement with pay-television broadcaster Foxtel has increased the financial pressure on the union

Pay-television broadcaster Sky has acquired exclusive rights in the UK and Ireland to the 2021 British and Irish Lions' three-Test rugby union series against South Africa as well as the Lions’ five warm-up m…

Features

Pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus is facing a big loss on international rights to the French Top 14 rugby union competition following difficulties securing distribution in key markets.

Public broadcaster France Télévisions renewed its free-to-air rights to the final of the country’s Top 14 rugby union club competition for the 2019-23 cycle at around the same level as its previous deal, SportBusiness Media understands.

French commercial broadcaster TF1 was expecting to recoup 40 per cent of its outlay on the 2019 Rugby World Cup from its ill-fated attempt to find a sublicensee, SportBusiness Media understands.

The value of Rugby World Cup rights in Australia has declined sharply after a big increase at their last sale, hit by a strong downturn in interest in rugby union in the territory.

The Ligue Nationale de Rugby’s desire for greater revenues drove the shift to a minimum guarantee from a pure revenue share in its renewal of the Top 14 international rights distribution contract with Canal Plus.

Pay-television platform Sky Italia and Perform Group’s OTT service DAZN will probably both be happy with the outcome of an intense period of rights negotiations in Italy.

RDA to pay minimum guarantee of about £500,000 per season for Pro14 international rights The agency is understood to have already secured more than £1m per season in sales

The Pro14 cross-border rugby union league will almost double the value of its UK and Ireland media rights once it completes its remaining deals for 2018-19 onward.

Telco Spark acquired rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup last week, outbidding Sky New Zealand in a deal which could shake up the country’s media-rights market.

European Professional Club Rugby has agreed four media-rights deals in recent weeks which it hopes will increase the exposure of its competitions.

In the latest interactive monthly data report, TV Sports Markets analyses the media-rights landscape in rugby union.

The media-rights value of the Six Nations is dominated by those nations that compete in the tournament: England; France; Ireland; Italy; Scotland and Wales. International rights represent about 5.3 per cent of the global media-rights value in 2018.

The annual value of Six Nations media rights in Asia has been cut almost in half following a new deal with OTT service RugbyPass.

French commercial broadcaster TF1 has acquired rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup after taking up an option in its deal for the 2015 tournament, TV Sports Markets understands.

The Irish Rugby Football Union roughly doubled the value of domestic rights to Ireland autumn internationals in a deal with public-service broadcaster RTÉ, and is still to sell rights in the UK.

Australian public-service broadcaster SBS has renewed its deal for non-exclusive rights to the national rugby union team’s ongoing matches for roughly the same annual fee.

Rugby union experts expect the value of international media rights to Europe’s club competitions to decline in any new deal, with a tender covering a new cycle issued this week.

The Six Nations last week secured a long-term deal with media company NBCUniversal in the US, but is understood to have suffered a 40-per-cent fall in the value of its rights in Italy.

The Pro14 cross-border rugby union league secured the medium-term future of its new format with the agreement of a lucrative deal across sub-Saharan Africa earlier this month.