SKY TV New Zealand Scores 2011 Rugby World Cup

By Kevin Hilton

SKY Television New Zealand has been named host broadcaster for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which will be broadcast in high-definition from 13 venues across both islands of New Zealand. SKY will provide facilities and international feeds for all 48 games, distributing coverage around the world to the broadcast partners of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL).

The 2007 tournament, staged in France and watched by 4 billion people in 200 countries, is regarded as having set a new benchmark for broadcast coverage of the event. “The appointment of the host broadcaster is a major element of the delivery of a world-class sporting event,” says Mike Miller, managing director of RWCL, “and we are confident that SKY NZ’s professionalism, in-depth rugby knowledge, and high level of production skills will enhance the enjoyment of what promises to be a spectacular tournament for billions of fans around the world.”

An international broadcast centre will be set up in Auckland as the production hub for international broadcasters covering the World Cup. SKY is a commercial, subscriptions-based broadcaster, so, under the deal with RWCL, up to 16 matches will be licensed for free-to-air transmission in New Zealand, including the opening game and the knock-out rounds. RWCL is in discussions with other broadcasters regarding these rights. SKY will broadcast every game on its Sports Channels and the Rugby Channel, supported by full replays.

“SKY is excited to be involved in what promises to be the biggest sporting event ever staged in New Zealand and will deliver live coverage of all 48 games to its subscribers,” says John Fellet, chief executive of SKY Television New Zealand. “To undertake the role of host broadcaster is also an exciting challenge and a testament to the knowledge and operational skills that our production teams have shown in their coverage of national and international sports events since SKY began broadcasting in New Zealand in May 1990.”