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Rugby Australia Yet To Finalise UK Broadcast Deal

R
ugby Australia (RA) is still reportedly confident they can finalise a deal to broadcast Super Rugby AU to the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, despite not having the opening two rounds shown up north.

Sky Sports last broadcast the competition, with a 5-year deal from 2016-2020.

South African, New Zealand, Argentina, and Australian Rugby (SANZAAR) unions made an estimated AUD$150 million across the length of the contract.

However, this figure is expected to be lower once a deal is made to broadcast Super Rugby AU.

The Herald estimates the new UK/Ireland deal will be worth less than 50% of the last one.

They also reported Six Nations and November internationals are being prioritised up north ahead of SANZAAR’s offerings.

However, an RA spokesperson believes there is still hope for the product in the region.

“Rugby Australia will continue to investigate future opportunities with broadcasters in overseas markets while considering key criteria like economic impact, fan accessibility and reach,” an RA spokesperson said to ESPN.

The 2021 season is relatively short, having begun in February, and set to finish on 8 May.

In Australia, Super Rugby AU has gotten off to a mixed start, with strong viewership numbers on Stan and Channel 9, but technical difficulties broadcasting games in pubs and sports bars.

New Zealand Rugby, on the other hand, has struck a deal with RugbyPass to stream their Super Rugby Aotearoa competition in the UK and Ireland.

The competition – which is in its second season – will be broadcast in 100 territories, including Wales.

New Zealand Rugby CEO, Mark Robinson, said he is expecting more international success from the deal.

“The hype around Super Rugby Aotearoa globally last year was incredible as New Zealand was fortunate enough to be one of the first countries in the world to enjoy live sport with crowds,” Robinson said.

“The rugby was fantastic and the fans loved it,” he said.