State of Origin game one to be shown live and free on Three, ThreeNow

For the first time in 19 years, New Zealanders will be able to watch State of Origin free-to-air live, with the series opener to be broadcast on Three and ThreeNow as well as Sky and Sky Sport Now.

Three's coverage of the first game of the 2021 series between Queensland and New South Wales, on Wednesday June 9, will begin from 9:50pm and will feature build-up, halftime analysis and post match commentary from a team of Newshub and Sky experts.

Sky Sport will air Channel Nine's expert analysis, before kick-off at 10:10pm NZ time.

State of Origin games two and three will be shown live and exclusively on Sky.

"We are excited to be bringing State of Origin to our Three audience in partnership with Sky," Discovery's New Zealand and Australia general manager Glen Kyne says.

"It's been a long time since this iconic event was last seen live on free-to-air and we know Kiwis will be thrilled to catch the action live on Three and ThreeNow."

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo says that the move is "a great outcome for fans in New Zealand."

"We are delighted that the first match of State of Origin, a rivalry that captures all sports lovers' imagination, is being offered to a broader audience in New Zealand via Sky's collaboration with Discovery," he says. 

Jonny Errington, Sky's chief commercial officer, says that the partnership heralds an exciting time for New Zealand sport fans leading into the future.

"Our goal at Sky is to connect New Zealanders with the sport and entertainment they love, in ways that work for them," he says.

"Partnerships are an important part of our strategy, and we look forward to working with the team at Discovery and Three to bring this match to Kiwi sports fans."

Games two and three will be played on June 27 and July 14 respectively.