Stan will launch a new sports package after snatching broadcast rights to Australian rugby

Australian rugby will be central to the launch of Stan Sport, a new streaming channel coming in 2021. (Brendan Moran, Sportsfile via Getty Images)
  • Stan will launch a new sport streaming package in 2021.
  • After wrestling away the broadcasting rights to Australian rubgy, ‘Stan Sport’ will stream all matches for the next three years, with Nine to also air international tests.
  • Stan is yet to announce which other sports it will broadcast alongside its rugby coverage.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

It’s official. Australian rugby is going to a new home that hasn’t yet launched yet.

Having acquired the rights to Rugby Australia (RA) games, Stan and owner Nine announced a new streaming package in Stan Sport to broadcast matches in 2021, including the Super Rugby, the Bledisloe Cup, the Shute Shield, and the Wallaroos, the women’s national team.

It marks the first time the rights have been wrestled away from Foxtel, owned by News Corp and facing audience decline, for the first time in two decades.

“Rugby Australia is very excited about our new partnership with Nine Entertainment Co. and what’s in store for our great game over the next three years and beyond,” Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke said.

“Rugby has found its new home on Stan and the Nine Network, with broad reach on free-to-air as well as ad-free, extensive access on the Stan platform.”

As rugby audiences have dwindled in recent years, some critics have pointed to the Foxtel deal, which firmly places games behind a paywall, as part of the decline. There seemed to be an acknowledgement of that in Clarke’s comments on Monday, as RA claimed it would “fast-track” the game’s growth, and see more access on free-to-air TV.

“The fantasy has become a reality for the Australian rugby community. This is a landmark deal that includes everything in the showbag, and it gives more Australians more access to more Rugby than ever before,” he said.

Stan will stream all matches behind their paywall, while Nine will get to also air Wallabies tests free-to-air. It’s unclear at this point whether sports access will cost Stan subscribers an additional fee.

Stan CEO Mike Sneesby said the deal was the beginning of a “new era” of sports streaming.

“Through the combined audience reach and engagement across Nine’s television platforms, we are well-positioned to bring Rugby Union to more Australians than ever before,” he said.

While the rights will launch a new sports package, however, it’s unclear what other codes might keep the rugby company.

Clearly, however, it is part of the ongoing strategy to diversify in order to compete more directly with the likes of overseas streaming services such as Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Not to mention its local rival Foxtel, and dedicated sports offshoot Kayo.

With 2021 fast approaching, Stan’s success, or lack thereof, should soon be obvious.

Nine Entertainment is the publisher of Business Insider Australia via Pedestrian Group.

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