Rugby Australia and the Foxtel Group have reached agreement today on a revised broadcast arrangement for 2020 which has given the go-ahead for the proposed Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition to be broadcast on FOX SPORTS.
The five-team competition, which features the four Australian Super Rugby teams plus the Western Force, will kick off on July 3 and will be contested over 12 consecutive weekends.
All matches will be broadcast live and ad-break free on FOX SPORTS on Foxtel, Foxtel NOW and streamed on Kayo.
The competition will involve 10 weeks of round robin action, with teams to face-off twice and have two byes each, before a two-week finals series featuring a Qualifying Final on September 12 and a Final on September 19.
All teams will start on zero competition points under the revised domestic format, with the 15-team three-conference Vodafone Super Rugby competition abandoned for 2020 after seven rounds.
The new season gets underway with the longest-running rivalry in Australian Rugby when the Queensland Reds host the NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane at 705pm AEST on Friday, July 3.
The following night in Canberra, the Brumbies will host the Melbourne Rebels at 715pm AEST after the Highlanders and Crusaders battle it out across the ditch in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
The SANZAAR tournaments will be the first professional Rugby competitions to launch since the global COVID-19 shutdown in March.
Western Force will begin its campaign in Round 2 after an opening round bye.
All matches to kick off the Vodafone Super Rugby AU season will be played at closed venues, with Rugby Australia to review its position regarding spectator attendance regularly in line with Government restrictions.
All 22 matches in the tournament will be broadcast exclusively live and ad-break free during play in High Definition on FOX SPORTS on Foxtel, Foxtel NOW and streamed on Kayo.
Rugby Australia interim CEO, Rob Clarke said: “We are excited to announce the return of professional Rugby in Australia and the kick-off of Vodafone Super Rugby AU on July 3.
“A huge thanks goes to our broadcast partner of 25 years, FOX SPORTS, who have backed the revised competition format for 2020 and have delivered the best possible news to Rugby fans across the country today.
"I offer my personal thanks to Foxtel CEO, Patrick Delany and Head of FOX SPORTS, Peter Campbell for their ongoing support of Rugby.
“We will continue to work closely with FOX SPORTS and Foxtel on the schedule for the international season following the revised Super Rugby tournament and look forward to making further exciting announcements with regards to our 2020 Test match schedule over the coming weeks.
“Our focus is now back where it should be, getting Vodafone Super Rugby AU up and running next month and watching our five Australian teams go head-to-head in week after week of Aussie derby action.
“Fans can also expect to see something different during the new season, as we use the opportunity to innovate and push the boundaries and we look forward to showcasing a new brand of Rugby throughout this 12-week competition.”
Head of FOX SPORTS Peter Campbell said: “It might not be Super Rugby as we know it, but its super to have rugby back on FOX SPORTS.
"We are looking forward to broadcasting every match of this competition to Australian viewers live and ad break free on Foxtel, Foxtel NOW and streamed on Kayo.
“Rugby starved fans will be able to watch their favourite teams in viewer friendly timeslots each week. Additionally, Foxtel has also reached an agreement to air the New Zealand Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, which starts this weekend, so rugby fans can settle in to watch more of the sport they love.
“The return of Super Rugby AU continues the return of live sport to our screens following the resumption of the NRL competition and this week the AFL premiership.
"We are beginning to see more sports announce and release their plans to return to competition and Foxtel is the best place to see it all.”
The full Vodafone Super Rugby AU season draw will be revealed tomorrow (Thursday 11 June) at 11am AEST.
Rugby Australia is also set to showcase law variations and innovations during the tournament.
Further announcements will be made ahead of the season start.