Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) is proud to announce that the New Zealand free-to-air broadcast rights for Rugby World Cup 2011 have been awarded to a consortium formed between Māori TV, TVNZ and Mediaworks TV (TV3).
Under the deal, New Zealanders will be able to watch live free-to-air broadcast of 16 key matches, including the Final, the Bronze Final, both semi-finals, the two quarter-finals featuring the qualifiers from New Zealand’s pool, the New Zealand team’s Pool matches and the Opening Match. The confirmed coverage provides the New Zealand public with the largest amount of live free-to-air international Rugby since RWC 2007.
This is in addition to all 48 tournament matches being produced and screened live by Host Broadcaster SKY New Zealand which will ensure wall-to-wall coverage in the host country of the world’s third-largest sporting event.
Māori Television Services (MTS) will broadcast live all 16 free-to-air games on the English language Māori Television Channel and Māori language channel Te Reo. The deal will see TV ONE and TV3 screen seven live games each. The full free-to-air schedule is as follows:
Māori TV will also air delayed coverage of the other 32 matches on free-to-air.
Under the deal, New Zealand free-to-air viewers will benefit from the exceptional production quality and expertise of SKY New Zealand, with every match originating in high definition.
‘‘We are delighted to announce a free-to-air broadcast solution that is good for the Tournament, good for Rugby and great for New Zealanders,’’ said RWCL Managing Director Mike Miller.
‘‘This agreement means that New Zealanders will be able to access live or delayed coverage of the 48 matches that comprise the world’s third-largest sports event, in addition to SKY’s live coverage of all 48 matches. This will build anticipation, excitement and enhance the RWC 2011 Festival ahead of and during what will be the largest event ever hosted in the country.’’
As lead free-to-air broadcaster, Māori Television has welcomed confirmation of the free-to-air broadcast agreement with RWCL.
Chief Executive Jim Mather said that the consortium of free-to-air broadcasters was committed to working together to ensure that New Zealanders received an unprecedented level of quality Rugby World Cup coverage.
‘‘This agreement means that New Zealanders can be confident that free-to-air coverage of the Rugby World Cup tournament will be widely available, with viewers able to enjoy a range of broadcast options.’’ said Mr Mather.
‘‘As lead free-to-air broadcaster Māori Television will continue to promote a close working relationship with RWCL, and with SKY Television as host broadcaster, to ensure coverage of this event is second-to-none.’’
Tournament organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011 said the announcement marked another important milestone in getting the country ready for the event. ‘‘Comprehensive television coverage, coupled with fan zones, festivities and other events, means many more New Zealanders will be able to share in the excitement of Rugby’s showpiece Tournament,’’ said RNZ 2011 CEO Martin Snedden.
‘‘I have no doubt that such wide television coverage will generate fantastic interest in the Tournament and add to our enthusiasm to be great hosts for the many Rugby fans we will welcome to our country next year.’’
Kick-off times for all 48 Tournament matches will be announced later in 2010. The full RWC 2011 match schedule can be viewed at the official Tournament website www.rugbyworldcup.com.