Even though Sky wanted to have the rugby rights for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the channel was not chosen as the prefered bidder, with the deal going to TVNZ and Spark instead.
Money seems to account for a large part of the problem: during the negotiation process, prices were not “right” according to the Sky director of sport, Richard Last.
He says that any investment from Sky in sports rights must be followed by economic benefits. It is one thing to buy rights, and something else to make a profit off them.
“It’s a six-week tournament, not a six-month tournament. We have to prioritise things over the longer term,” he added.
This is not the first time that Sky has lost out on premium sports content (Premier League, Golf) and it has been seen as another sign that Sky’s grip on sports rights is loosening.
Last remains confident that Sky can capitalise on other local sports rights such as Blackcaps Pink Ball Test, Super Rugby Games, netball, kickboxing and the NZ Football Championship.