New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey denied there was any conflict of interest now that the organisation had acquired a 5 per cent stake in Sky.

He said NZR would not stand in the way of Sky bidding for other rugby rights and that his organisation remained committed to doing what was best for the game and for viewers.

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He did, however, acknowledge that this was possibly the first time in the world that a sport has become a shareholder in the broadcaster.


"We've broken new ground here," he said.

Asked whether Spark's problems in streaming the Rugby World Cup had any impact on the decision, Impey said the "so-called technical glitches" of Spark had nothing to do with company awarding its rugby rights to Sky.

Impey did, however, acknowledge that reaching rural New Zealand was a "critical part" of the discussions.

He said the technology wasn't there yet when it came to delivering its services to rural sections of society and that Sky has proven itself a capable broadcast partner.

Sky has served as New Zealand Rugby's partner for the past 25 years.

Spark was not given an opportunity to bid for the rugby rights, with NZR coming to a decision within the timeframe of the exclusive re-negotiation agreement it had with Sky.

Impey said that the deal was really struck at the 11th hour, with that exclusive period coming to a close on Sunday night.

Neither Impey nor Sky chief executive Martin Stewart would comment on the value of the deal, which sources estimate to be worth as much as $400 million.

Given that NZR did not take the rights to market, it was not able to benefit from a potential bidding war between Sky and Spark Sport.


Impey said he was not concerned by this, because his team had done extensive research on what the rights were valued at and were comfortable that they got a fair price.

Sky shares rebound

Sky TV shares shot up 20 per cent today after confirming its blockbuster deal for All Blacks and Super Rugby broadcasting rights.

The rally lifts Sky TV's total market capitalisation by about $74 million to $447m.

Shares in Sky TV rallied by 18c in the opening minutes of trade on the back of a deal between the pay TV operator and New Zealand Rugby being confirmed.

By 10.05 am Sky TV shares were trading at $1.07.

Sky TV confirmed this morning it had acquired the All Black and Super Rugby rights until 2025.

The deal also involves New Zealand Rugby taking a 5 per cent stake in Sky TV and could mean other broadcasters are locked out of rugby coverage in the future.

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The deal has had an immediate impact on Sky shares, which last week plunged below $1 for the first time in its 21 years as a listed company off the back of Spark's acquisition of the Black Caps cricket rights.

In the aftermath, Sky's share price dropped by 18c (16.22 per cent) to as low as 87c last week.

In an announcement posted to the New Zealand Stock Exchange, the broadcaster told investors it had finalised the major deal.

The company did not say how much the deal was worth, but sources suggested Sky tabled an offer of $400 million back in September.

The company confirmed that the cost of the rights materially increased from its current arrangements.

News of the deal first broke last week Friday, when sources told the Herald the deal was in the final stages.

Sky said today the deal was reached on the evening of October 13 and was subject to shareholder approval at this Thursday's annual meeting.