NEWS
08/25/2011 05:10 EDT | Updated 10/25/2011 05:12 EDT

New Zealand ensures Tongans will see Rugby World Cup opener on TV

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealand has stepped in to ensure fans of its first Rugby World Cup opponent, Tonga, are able to watch the Cup's opening match on free-to-air television in the Pacific island nation.

There had been fears Tongans might miss the match between the All Blacks and Tonga on Sept. 9 because the $100,000 broadcast fee sought by rights-holder Sky Pacific was too much for Tonga Television.

The New Zealand High Commission in Tonga planned to sponsor an outdoor broadcast of the match at Teufaiva Stadium in the capital Nuku'alofa. But High Commissioner Dr. Jonathan Austin said for the same cost New Zealand could sponsor a free-to-air broadcast of the match "so we decided to go with that option."