Fox Sports and Ten have firmed as the homes of this year’s Rugby World Cup after a marathon rights negotiation process that came with a hefty price tag but drew little interest from the free-to-air networks.
The Herald understands World Rugby and rights agency IMG are close to finalising a deal with Fox Sports — the historic home of Super Rugby and the Wallabies — and its streaming service Kayo as the host broadcaster for rugby’s showpiece international event, with Ten the only network left in the running for the Australia games included on the federal government’s anti-siphoning list.
Late but genuine interest from Optus is believed to have waned, with the telco withdrawing from the race in the past week.
Nine and Seven are also understood to have withdrawn; Nine as early as October last year and Seven more recently. SBS, which has shown some November internationals in recent years, are understood to be open to some involvement, but do not have the financial clout to compete with the commercial broadcasters.