Samoan PM pushed for rugby and cricket coverage

The Samoan Prime Minister has welcomed a broadcasting initiative that will provide more free-to-air sports coverage.

Under the move eight countries will get up to eight hours a day of free-to-air content from New Zealand including selected Super Rugby, ITM Cup and international matches.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says while there will be plenty of new content available in the islands it's the sports coverage which has him excited.

"Rugby and cricket. Rugby and cricket - and I made damn sure the kind of sports that's going to be shown across, and the news too".

The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key believes the initiative will boost rugby in the Pacific.

He says a range of broadcasters, production houses and rights holders have banded together to support the move.

Mr Key thanked broadcasters for backing the initiative as well as the regional rugby body SANZAR.

"A lot of rugby players come out of the Pacific and they're very keen as the rights-holders there to promote their sport. In essence, by showing more rugby I guess they're hoping there will be more Pacific Island rugby players that will ultimately take up rugby".

Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG will all receive the footage.