Air New Zealand adds onboard live sport to 777, 787 flights with Sport 24 deal

Just a week before the All Blacks launch their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign in France, Air New Zealand has announced the matches can be watched live by passengers on its long-haul flights.

The airline has signed a deal with Sport 24, a channel that provides live sport to airlines and cruise ships around the world.

Air NZ is adding the live sport broadcasts to its onboard entertainment offerings on its Boeing 777 and 787 services. In addition to the Rugby World Cup matches, the national carrier said it will also offer live coverage of the Premier League, US Open, NRL, AFL and "much more".

Sport 24's website states it has partnerships with the Olympics, America's Cup, NBA, SailGP, MotoGP, NFL, NHL, Champions League and the Kentucky Derby, among others. 

Air NZ said its "live TV entertainment trial will be rolled out" from Wednesday.

"Adding live sport is a fantastic way to give customers access to even more content so they never have to miss a minute of the game," said Air NZ chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

"Just like most Kiwis, we're crazy about rugby, so kicking off the roll out of live sport today means they will be able to enjoy live rugby onboard and will be able to support their team even while in the air.

"We know many of our customers are passionate sports supporters, but there are a few guidelines we recommend keeping in mind, like staying onside in your seat and keeping neighbours in mind when celebrating."

Currently, Air NZ will only offer live sport on its widebody fleet - the 777s and 787s - with no plan to add it to its domestic aircraft or the narrowbody Airbus planes it flies on Australian and Pacific Islands routes.

Other airlines that offer live sport onboard include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines.