13 Oct 2009

More details sought on Rugby World Cup TV bids

9:15 am on 13 October 2009

Rugby World Cup Ltd is seeking more details from New Zealand broadcasters competing for television rights to the 2011 Rugby World Cup, including how much of New Zealand they cover.

Maori Television has altered its bid for the rights to allow for sub-contracting to another provider.

There is disquiet that Maori TV might not provide 100% coverage, with Prime Minister John Key spelling out on Monday that whoever wins the bid should be able to reach all viewers.

Maori TV's bid is boosted by $3 million from the Maori Development Ministry, Te Puni Kokiri.

Currently, the network reaches only about 85% of New Zealand.

But Mr Key says he's been assured by Maori Television that sub-contracting would achieve 100% coverage.

Maori Television's bid appears to lead the race to win the rights, ahead of TV3 and Television New Zealand.

The board of Rugby World Cup Ltd, a subsidiary of the International Rugby Board, met in Dublin on Sunday to consider the bids.

General manager Ross Young says the company's been instructed to seek clarification from all interested broadcasters on a number of points, including production of the event, promotion and marketing and financial considerations.

Mr Young says the sort of coverage the channels offer is also of interest.

The board will meet again next month.