NZ World Cup rugby stoush ended
Rose Major

New Zealandís spat over which of the government-backed bids would win free-to-air rights for the 2011 Rugby World Cup has ended, with the three broadcasters agreeing to work together on a joint bid.

Maori TV, TVNZ and TV3 have agreed to share rights to the competition, with all three broadcasters working collaboratively to finalise details of the bid, which is yet to be submitted to the International Rugby Board (IRB).

Both TVNZ and Maori TV have withdrawn their existing bids and Maori TV is lead broadcaster for the bid. It is thought the new bid would give Maori TV the rights to broadcast all 48 World Cup games (16 games live and 32 delayed) with all matches from the quarter-finals broadcast across all three channels live. TV3 and TVNZ will alternate rights to New Zealandís early-round matches, with Maori TV showing all of these live.

Maori TV CEO, Jim Mather said he was pleased the matter had been concluded. However, the IRB has yet to award the contract Ė not a given as the body dislikes joint bids as it sees them as non-competitive.

News Corp-backed Sky TV is host broadcaster for the tournament and holds pay-TV rights.