Ministry of Sport

Sky Television Accelerates Expansion Plans With RugbyPass Acquisition

RugbyPass, the rugby union-dedicated over-the-top (OTT) streaming service responsible for holding a plethora of media rights internationally has just been acquired by New Zealand-based media company, Sky Television.

The deal, which is reportedly worth up to AU$62.1 million, will see RugbyPass operate as a wholly-owned Sky subsidiary and serve more than 40 million viewers per month in 62 countries, including exclusive rugby coverage in 39 territories.

As part of its offering, RugbyPass holds Asian, Australian, and European rights for tournaments hosted by SANZAAR, the organising body for international Tests in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina, and regional Super Rugby matches.

The platform also creates and distributes a wide array of original video content, and also houses the RugbyPass Index, a comprehensive player and team ranking system that sits outside the official World Rugby rankings.

Sky’s chief executive, Martin Stewart, said: “RugbyPass has established itself as an important player in the sport streaming world.

“It has the ability to reach rugby fans in markets that are not currently well-served with rugby content, and a strong growth plan for more markets.

“Sky’s investment will support that growth plan, by leveraging our capabilities of developing rugby communities and providing high quality and engaging rugby content,” he said.

“Sky’s ambitions around growth are heavily focused on digital services and broadening our reach.”

Stewarts comments co-inside with the broadcast company’s newly launched Sky Sport Now app, which allows subscribers in New Zealand to access all 12 of the company’s Sky Sport channels online.

The acquisition of RugbyPass “allows us to extend Sky’s reach beyond New Zealand borders and opens up significant opportunities for Sky and for our partners,” Stewart said.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Sky will pay US$10 million to RugbyPass upfront, making up the rest of the money owed in US$20 million worth of stock, and a further US$10 million payment based on the platform’s performance.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney