Nine Entertainment Co has surprised sports fans this week by announcing the launch of Stan Sport, a live and on-demand premium ad free sport package to be offered as a bundle to Stan’s streaming customers.

The first content will be via a three-year deal with Rugby Australia which will include live free-to-air and ad-free subscription coverage and is worth approximately $100million.  There is also a two-year option for Nine to extend.

In addition to rugby union, Nine is considering opportunities to invest in a range of additional exclusive sports rights, on either a pay or cross-platform basis, focusing on content aimed at driving its long-term subscriber growth and profitability objectives.

Nine and Stan have also announced that they have secured the international rights for two of the world’s greatest tennis sporting events, Wimbledon and Roland-Garros, having agreed to terms for three-year deals for the two Grand Slam tournaments.

These surprise sports broadcast rights purchases will come as a blow to Foxtel/Kayo which has long been the home of Rugby Union games. The loss of Wimbledon will be felt by Channel Seven and Foxtel while ESPN (via Fox/Kayo/Fetch TV) and SBS lose the French Open.

Content from these two leading tennis tournaments, including the women’s and men’s singles finals, will appear across Nine and Stan’s multi-platform channel offering, with coverage appearing on free-to-air television on the 9Network and building out the newly announced Stan Sport ad-free subscriber sports proposition.

On Monday we talked about how Nine was taking a whole-of-television approach to the way we look at sports rights. Today’s announcement sees us secure two of the world’s great tennis tournaments and gives us the flexibility to develop the right mix of games which will appear on free-to-air television while ensuring all games are available to Stan Sport subscribers live and ad-free on Stan.Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine

In 2021, Stan will be a one stop shop for both these tournaments delivering every match, from every court, live and on-demand, and ad-free.

It will be interesting to see how fans of the sports streamed by STAN will react to having to pay for a STAN base package along with a Sport add-on.

What do you think of this sports broadcast rights news? Please let us know in the comments.