RFU strike new deal with Sky Sports
November 3, 2008
RFU boss Francis Baron welcomed the addition of national league rugby to the Sky Sports coverage © Getty Images
Broadcaster Sky Sports has won a new 5-year deal for live England Rugby from the Rugby Football Union.
Under the agreement, which starts in 2010, all England matches played at home or overseas - outside the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup - will be exclusively live on Sky Sports. It gives Sky Sports more live rugby, including international, domestic, women's and youth matches than ever before and it will take the relationship between the RFU and Sky Sports into an 18th year with an extended range of rights:
The deal includes online rights; live matches will be simulcast on Sky Sports channels on Sky Player - the online TV service.
Announcing the new deal, RFU Chief Executive Francis Baron said, "We are delighted to have agreed terms with Sky Sports on a new five-year deal, thereby extending our long standing and successful partnership with them. We are particularly pleased that this new agreement extends to coverage of rugby union to the National Divisions and below. It also provides a solid base to our future revenue streams and certainty to our investment programmes."
Vic Wakeling, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: "This deal means that we have top-class international rugby through to the end of the 2014-15 season. They will be exciting years for England under Martin Johnson, and we are delighted to be a part of it. We have internationals at all levels - from Under-18s and Saxons, through to the senior team - and we hope to see some outstanding talent coming through."
Sky's Rugby Union line-up includes live coverage of international, European and domestic competition with the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup, the Guinness Premiership and, at international level, England's Autumn Internationals, the Tri-Nations and next summer's British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa.
England were first shown live on Sky Sports in November 1997 with Clive Woodward's first match as Head Coach, against Australia at Twickenham. Coverage of the next match, when England ended the All Blacks record winning streak, secured a BAFTA for Sky Sports.
The pioneering coverage has seen the introduction of high definition, Hi Motion replays, interactivity, and new camera technologies and positions.