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Sport Sky Sports ditch plans for new rugby channel and Premiership deal

03:08  27 january  2021
03:08  27 january  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Kevin Maggs on the search for new Irish rugby stars

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Micky Young holding a football ball: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Sky Sports have put plans to launch a rugby channel on hold due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The broadcaster already have bespoke channels devoted to the Premier League, football and cricket and are eager to develop an offering exclusively for rugby at some stage, but given the challenging financial climate have opted against buying up the additional rights needed to provide the extra content.

Sky are expected to bid for some of the Six Nations packages when the auction for the 2022 to 2024 tournament cycle takes place later this year, but as it stands the only live rugby rights they own are for this summer’s British Lions tour, which is shrouded in uncertainty due to the Covid-19 situation in South Africa.

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  Time for the Reds to shine in 2021 For the rugby romantic the Queensland Reds are the most beguiling team in Australian rugby. You might first think of brilliant sides of the 1970s and 80s with greats like the rampaging Mark Loane, the brilliant wing Brendan Moon and the late great Stan Pilecki. Pilecki was the first Queensland player to play 100 games for the team and his name adorns the annual medal for the best Reds player.

a rugby player with a football ball: Sky had planned to buy up the live rights for the Premiership to fill their rugby channel © Provided by Daily Mail Sky had planned to buy up the live rights for the Premiership to fill their rugby channel

While a final decision has yet to be made the most likely outcome at this stage is that the three-Test series and warm-up matches will take place in Britain, an outcome Sky would support even though it would be a less appealing product.

Sky had planned to buy up the live rights for the Premiership to fill their rugby channel, which would have given them over 80 matches each season.

But Sportsmail has learned that they withdrew from the process late last year, causing consternation at Premiership Rugby Limited.

Lawrence Dallaglio wearing a hat: BT Sport had warned their rugby staff they were expecting to lose the Premiership contract © Provided by Daily Mail BT Sport had warned their rugby staff they were expecting to lose the Premiership contract

As a result PRL were forced go back to existing rights-holders BT Sport, who had walked away from the talks and warned their rugby staff they were expecting to lose the contract.

With no other bid on the table, BT were able to retain the Premiership rights at a reduced rate, paying £110million for a new three-year deal that was announced last month.

Sky also have the live rights for rugby league’s Super League and the NRL in Australia.

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