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World Surf League adds Sky NZ as broadcaster and event sponsor

Italo Ferreira of Brazil surfs during the Billabong Pipe Masters (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Pay-television broadcaster Sky Sport New Zealand has signed a wide-ranging sponsorship and media-rights deal with the World Surf League.

Sky will serve as a major sponsor and broadcast partner of March’s Piha Pro WSL Challenger Series event in March, before taking on exclusive broadcast rights in New Zealand for all major WSL events and other content as part of a three-year deal.

Sky will take on naming rights to the Piha Pro New Zealand Trials event, which will serve as a qualifier for the aforementioned Challenger Series meet. The Trials event will feature 16 men and 16 women from New Zealand, with the top two from each event to qualify for the main Challenger Series event.

Sky’s chief content officer Tex Teixeira said: “Surfing is a growth sport and as a key sponsor for the Corona Piha Pro and with broadcast rights for a huge range of international events and other content, we’re supporting surfing at all levels and making this exciting sport more accessible to more fans.

“We know the last time New Zealand hosted a surfing event of the scale of the Corona Piha Pro, there was a huge surge in the number of people taking up surfing. Ensuring every New Zealand fan can be inspired by seeing local and global stars compete on the waves here and around the world, is an exciting proposition for Sky Sport.”

The Trials event will take place on March 15, with the Challenger Series event running from March 16-22.