Foxtel's monopoly on sport might be coming to an end if Stan has its way.
Nine Entertainment Co.'s on-demand streaming service Stan has secured a broadcast rights contract with Rugby Australia that will see plenty of rugby action come to the digital platform over three years beginning in 2021.
This deal will kickstart Stan Sport, a new channel for the service that will, well, air a lot of sport — or at least a lot of rugby for starters.
It's a pretty big coup for Nine, considering Foxtel's partnership with Rugby Australia lasted for 25 years. The Stan Sport deal is estimated to be worth $100 million over the three-year contract. If both parties are happy with how things go, there's also a two-year extension option in the mix.
No doubt the contract was struck at least in part due to the pandemic's economic impact, with Mumbrella reporting the most recent contract between Rugby Australia and Fox Sports was $15 million less than what was offered last year.
Expect to see plenty of international rugby action as a result of the new contract. Confirmed to be live and ad-free on Stan Sport is both men's and women's Super Rugby involving Australia and New Zealand, Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup, plus upcoming test matches involving Australia's men's and women's teams.
Selected matches will also be available on Nine's free-to-air channels with ads, including Super Rugby finals.
Stan currently boasts more than two million subscribers, so it will be interesting to see how many opt to sign up for the rugby. No details are available as to how much Stan Sport will cost, other than it will be "offered as a bundle to Stan's streaming customers".
Nine will attempt to add more sports content alongside rugby, which it will need to do if it's to compete with News Corp's Kayo digital sports platform, which boasts multiple Fox Sports channels, ESPN, plus many other sports options at a competitive $25 per month.
As it currently stands rugby won't be enough to entice sports nuts from Kayo's all-in-one offering to Stan Sport.
Competition is good, however, and here's hoping Stan Sport can eventually provide a tangible alternative for those who want to cleanse Murdoch from their lives.
In the meantime, you can register your interest in Stan Sport to get a heads-up on when it launches next year.