TSN has confirmed that they are now airing Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Super Rugby’s return in limited form, as the New Zealand-based Super Rugby Aotearoa, begins this weekend.
The Land of the Long White Cloud has done such a good job using its geographic isolation, along with an aggressive lockdown approach, that COVID-19 has simply ceased to exist there.
On top of the to-be-expected TV broadcasts, there will be fans in the stadiums when the games kick off between New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams this weekend.
But whether fans in Canada will be able to watch on their TVs remains unclear.
In normal times, the SANZAAR-run Super Rugby competition is available in Canada through TSN’s online streaming service. The last round played before the whole world went into lockdown, on March 13, was actually aired on TSN’s regular channels. SANZAAR, which was formed in 1996 by the Australia, New Zealand and South Africa rugby boards, is the body which oversees Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship competitions in Rugby Union
Super Rugby Aotearoa is also run by SANZAAR, so it stands to reason that the rights deal that has brought the world’s best club competition to the Great White North should apply.
But sources has confirmed this isn’t exactly clear. It’s not about TSN, rather it’s about ESPN. The American broadcaster holds the Americas-wide rights to Super Rugby and sub-licences to local broadcasters where necessary, like with TSN. ESPN is a minority owner of Canada’s sports leader.
And ESPN is in talks with SANZAAR about the rights for Super Rugby Aotearoa.
TSN PR has not been able to provide a definitive answer to multiple queries on the matter, simply saying they were looking into it. An email to ESPN PR, asking about the rights situation, has not yet drawn a response.