22 May 2017

NZ Rugby sign new deal with Vodafone

4:50 pm on 22 May 2017

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Steve Tew says a new partnership with Vodafone will not affect broadcasting rights with Sky Television.

06092016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Gordon Tietjens steps down as All Blacks Sevens coach.  Pictured: Steve Tew, NZ Rugby Chief Executive.

Steve Tew Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

NZR announced its new four year partnership with Vodafone today saying it will 'put rugby at the forefront of the integration of technology and sport in New Zealand.'

NZR chief executive Steve Tew said it's a big day for both organisations.

"We've been looking for a way to better connect with our fans and audience, people who download the app will notice straight away that the upgrade is significant.

Tew said the new partnership does not affect NZR's deal with broadcaster Sky Television.

"This is not a rights deal it's a commercial agreement with a technology provider, there's nothing in this that would worry Sky - they already have a close relationship with Vodafone.

"There's no doubt the way content is broadcast and consumed is changing every day so for us to have a partnership with someone that is at the leading edge of technology is helpful," Tew said.

Sky attempted to merge with Vodafone but the plan was denied by the Commerce Commission in February.

Tew said major sporting franchises around the world are focusing on how to engage with fans.

"This is a great partnership for New Zealand Rugby in terms of where we want to take the game. It is important to us that we move with the times and offer a world leading fan experience, and in this day and age that means integrating innovative technology into our fan offering."

A new app will enable fans at an All Blacks test to watch highlights, alternative live footage from multiple different camera angles and replay tries on their phones.

There will also be more content available to fans not inside the stadium.

Vodafone will provide high speed broadband to game venues so people can use the app on Wifi - and it will all be done in time for the upcoming British and Irish Lions Tour.