Sky NZ has expanded its reach into the global rugby market with the acquisition of RugbyPass, the largest online rugby network in the world.
RugbyPass is the premier online destination for global rugby fans, offering a live streaming rugby service across Asia, Australia and Europe, along with a wide array of original video content, news, analysis, stats and a world-first rugby player and team rankings system, the RugbyPass Index.
Sky NZ Chief Executive Martin Stewart said: “We are thrilled to be bringing RugbyPass under the Sky umbrella. Its media channels are reaching over 40 million people a month and growing quickly, and as the rights-holder for SANZAAR in 62 countries across Asia and Europe (including exclusively in 39 countries), it has an impressive following of rugby fans who have plenty of potential to buy streaming services.
“RugbyPass has established itself as an important player in the sport streaming world. It has the ability to reach rugby fans in markets that are not currently well-served with rugby content, and a strong growth plan for more markets. Sky’s investment will support that growth plan, including by leveraging our capabilities of developing rugby communities and providing high quality and engaging rugby content.
“Sky’s ambitions around growth are heavily focused on digital services and broadening our reach. We launched our new Sky Sport Now app on Wednesday, designed for New Zealand sport fans who want to access all 12 of the Sky Sport channels online. The acquisition of RugbyPass allows us to extend Sky’s reach beyond New Zealand borders and opens up significant opportunities for Sky and for our partners.”
Chief Executive at RugbyPass, Tim Martin, said: “We’re delighted to be joining the Sky family. RugbyPass was created as a market disruptor to help bring rugby to a younger, internet savvy audience on a global scale. Rugby is a growth sport globally and we estimate there are 120 million rugby fans around the world, many of them in developing rugby markets where rugby is a secondary sport and access to content can be difficult. Providing an OTT solution gives those fans access to the content they want, and Sky’s investment in the platform will help us achieve our ambitions to service more fans across the globe.”
Launched in 2016, RugbyPass broadcasts live in 63 countries and is the largest publisher of Rugby content in the world. It produces more than 2300 pieces of content a month, distributed across 29 owned and operated individual media channels reaching over 40 million people a month.
RugbyPass is based in Dublin, with offices in Singapore and New Zealand.
Sky is acquiring 100% of RugbyPass, with a completion date of 19 August 2019.
RugbyPass is currently owned by US-based RugbyPass Investors LLC, which is majority owned by private investment company Cooper and Company.
The purchase price is US$40m, with consideration made up of US$10m cash and issuance of new Sky shares of US$20m at completion, and the remaining US$10m payable in cash during an agreed earn out period.
RugbyPass will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sky.