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Coliseum Sports Media - "This is Business"

EXCLUSIVE “This is business

By Matheson Sports Media

The man who snared the English Premier League rights away from Sky TV has held secret meetings with New Zealand Rugby bosses, Matheson Sports Media can reveal.

Tim Martin - the boss of Coliseum Sports - is understood to have met with senior NZR staffers last month.

Martin confirmed meeting with them and, for the first time, admitted that he and his financial backers have their collective eyes on acquiring the rights to the All Blacks.

"There are no rugby rights available until 2015," Martin told Matheson Sports Media. "On one hand that seems like a while away, but on the other hand it seems like tomorrow.

"The reality is rugby is a battleground now.

"And we are, like everyone else in this business, interested in acquiring the rights to the All Blacks and Super 15."

The most obvious target for the internet platform broadcasters would be the All Blacks' end of year tour games.

But the school of thought suggesting that Coliseum Sports can't compete for broadcast rights of the All Blacks' domestic tests because Martin's company doesn't have the capacity or infrastructure to film rugby games, is naivety at its worst.

"Anyone who has been following (the Coliseum Sports) story knows of our relationship with Television New Zealand," said Martin, clearly hinting at an eventual joint bid for All Blacks games with the state broadcaster.

"And, obviously, TVNZ has all the capabilities that we don't have. We complement each other. Who knows what that may lead to in 2015...?”

Martin - whose EPL website www.premierleaguepass.com will begin broadcasting the competition this weekend - is under no illusions about how tough the war with Sky TV will be when it comes to prizing the All Blacks away from the pay-TV company.

"One thing I do know is that New Zealand Rugby has an excellent relationship with Sky," Martin said.

"It's a long standing relationship and I am aware that (NZR CEO) Steve Tew and his board put a lot of stock into being loyal and showing that loyalty.

"But, this is business.

"One thing that really annoys me is watching All Blacks leave New Zealand to go and play their rugby in Japan - a team that when the ABs plays them we win by 100 points. That just doesn't make sense on any level.

"If NZR can make more money to pay their players more, then that trend can be stopped. And we can help.

"Competition for the rights will mean dollars."

ENDS

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