Sky wins host rights for Rugby World Cup 2011

Pay television company Sky has won the host broadcaster rights for all matches of Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.

Under the deal, Sky will work with Rugby World Cup Ltd to produce comprehensive coverage of all 48 matches, for distribution to RWCL's broadcast partners around the world.

But that does not mean New Zealand fans will be forced to pay to watch all the matches.

Discussions are under way with other broadcasters to license simultaneous free-to-air broadcast in New Zealand of up to 16 matches, including the opening match and knock-out matches.

RWCL managing director Mike Miller said it aimed to provide the New Zealand public with the largest amount of free-to-air international rugby coverage seen since RWC 2007.

Mr Miller said Sky NZ was a proven world leader in rugby broadcasting and its appointment as host broadcaster was wonderful news for rugby fans in New Zealand who would be able to see every RWC 2011 match live.

Sky Television New Zealand chief executive John Fellet said RWC 2007 set new tournament broadcast standards and was screened in over 200 countries, reaching four billion people.

His company was looking forward to playing its part in the delivery of what is the world's third largest sporting event.

"We are honoured to have been appointed and I am confident that we will deliver excellent coverage of all the games, which will be seen by an estimated four billion television viewers worldwide," he said.

"Sky is excited to be involved in what promises to be the biggest sporting event ever to be staged in New Zealand and will deliver live coverage of all 48 Rugby World Cup games to its subscribers."

Every match will be broadcast on Sky sports channels and the rugby channel, and there will also be a "comprehensive number" of replays of every match, along with a number of Rugby World Cup-related productions.

The company will also provide an international broadcast centre in Auckland for other licensed broadcasters to process RWC footage.