Sky secures exclusive rights to America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand in action against Oracle. Photo / Brett Phipps
Emirates Team New Zealand in action against Oracle. Photo / Brett Phipps

SKY TV has hit back in a renewed broadcasting war with Television New Zealand by taking exclusive rights to the America's Cup off the state broadcaster.

TVNZ recently announced it had secured exclusive rights to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in what was considered a blow to Sky.

But the pay TV network struck back today when it announced it had secured live coverage of every race of the 35th America's Cup including the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman at the end of this month.

TVNZ has always been the home of the America's Cup with the network and will be annoyed at the loss of the event. The move does deny free-to-air audiences access to the event, although Sky may yet do a deal to screen some footage on its Prime channel.

"Sky New Zealand becomes a powerful partner for the America's Cup with this agreement," said Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner for the Cup.

"We know how enthusiastic the fan base is in New Zealand. The Kiwi team has been a finalist in five of the last six America's Cups and is currently leading the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series after the first three events.

"Peter Burling, the current World Sailor of the year, and inaugural winner of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, has brought youthful, new energy in steering the team to the top of the leaderboard so there is a lot of excitement as we head into the 2016 events."

Sky's Director of Sport Richard Last said: "The last America's Cup had the entire country watching as Emirates Team New Zealand came within a race of bringing the Cup back to New Zealand.

"We are proud to be the exclusive broadcast partner for this edition of the America's Cup, as we follow Emirates Team New Zealand through the qualifying events towards the finals in Bermuda in June 2017."

The America's Cup World Series continues with the first event of 2016 on February 27-28 from Muscat, Oman. Sky will show racing live as well as replays and highlights. There are further rounds in New York (May 7-8), Chicago (June 11-12), Portsmouth in the UK (July 23-24), and Toulon in France (September 10-11).

In May and June next year, the action shifts to Bermuda for the America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs as well as the America's Cup itself where the top challenger will take on defending champions Oracle Team USA.

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