Sky Sports has secured Rugby Union rights for all major Southern Hemisphere countries, encompassing at least 150 fixtures per year in a new five-year deal with SANZAR.
Additionally, Sky Sports customers will also be able to enjoy live and exclusive coverage of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales on their summer tours.
The new rights further strengthens Sky Sports’ year round rugby union schedule, which includes live action every month of the year. Fans will be treated to live coverage of Rugby Championship, with clashes between the Rugby World Cup semi-finalists, the All Blacks, Springboks, Wallabies and Argentina, as well as domestic matches from the Southern Hemisphere featuring Super Rugby, ITM Cup, the Currie Cup, and the National Rugby Championship.
Sky is thought to have paid significantly more than the current multimillion-pound deal with Sanzar, the umbrella body representing New Zealand, Australia and South African rugby, to block rival BT Sport from breaking into international rugby.
The deal, which runs until 2020, includes southern hemisphere tours by Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
As part of the agreement Sky Sports will also show all of the home nations on their summer tours, including England taking on Australia down under in 2016 and South Africa in 2018 as well as Ireland in South Africa and Wales against the All Blacks in 2016.
Sky’s move blocks any further incursion into rugby by BT Sport which outbid Sky for the TV rights to England Premiership Rugby. BT also has the rights to the best matches from the new European Champions Cup, formerly known as the Heineken Cup.
Sky still holds onto the rights for England’s autumn internationals, the probable next major rugby rights battle ground.
In July, the BBC and ITV joined forces to stop Sky winning the broadcast rights to the Six Nations