Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Spark cuts rugby world cup deal with Sky

Spark cuts deal with Sky for commercial customers to access rugby world cup

By Paul McBeth

July 30 (BusinessDesk) - Spark New Zealand and Sky Network Television have cut a deal where the pay-TV operator's commercial customers will be able to access the rugby world cup using a Sky decoder.

Sky's commercial customers will be able to access a pop-up to access all 48 matches live at a one-off cost, that the companies said was confidential but reflected "the quality and scale of the event". The telecommunications company will foot the bill for setting up the pop-up channel, but also receive all related revenue, the companies said in a joint statement.

Spark's chief financial officer Dave Chalmers, who is the executive lead for Spark Sports, said the company has tested its streaming offer over a broadband connection and is confident in the service.

"But we also wanted to provide an alternative option for venues that would prefer to use their existing infrastructure, particularly for those locations without streaming-ready broadband connectivity," Chalmers said.

"This partnership with Sky means that commercial businesses which already have Sky set up in their premises have options for how they screen the tournament, to ensure that as many commercial premises around New Zealand as possible can show the rugby world cup in its entirety."

Spark trumped the pay-TV operator in winning the rights for the marquee sports event and has been hoovering up other sports rights including football, tennis, racing and formula one motorsport.

Australia's Optus' attempted to broadcast the 2018 football world cup via streaming services, which failed, and it was forced to make the games available on free-to-air television.

That experience raised concerns about Spark's ability to reach more remote areas in New Zealand on broadband alone.

Last month, Communications Minister Kris Faafoi told a select committee hearing that government officials had been working with the telco and wireless internet service providers to ensure rural communities would be able to access the rugby broadcast. As at March 31, about 75 percent of the population could access ultrafast broadband and the rural broadband initiative was about 40 percent through.

Sky strategic partnerships lead Sophie Moloney said the company was pleased to provide alternative access for the world cup, which is a major event for pubs and clubs across the country.

"We are pleased to be able to work together with Spark to deliver this alternative access option for our commercial customers, including those in rural areas who don’t yet have access to fast enough broadband," she said.

Sky's new chief executive Martin Stewart has renewed the company's focus on sports rights, announcing the launch of 12 new sports channels from August, a sports news channel, and a new sport streaming service.

Sky shares increased 2.4 percent to $1.26 when trading opened today, and Spark was up 0.4 percent at $3.915


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


$7.5 Billion Surplus: Government Accounts "Show Strong Economy"

“The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more on infrastructure and make record investments in health and education,” Grant Robertson says. More>>


New OIO Application Trumps Judicial Review: OceanaGold Cleared To Buy Land For Waihi Tailings Expansion

In a surprise turnaround, the government has given OceanaGold a greenlight to buy land to expand its Waihi mine after the application was previously turned down by Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage. More>>


Christchurch Rebuild: Fletcher Sued For $7.5m Over Justice Precinct

Fletcher Building is being sued for $7.5 million by utilities contractor Electrix, one of the subcontractors on the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. More>>

Three New Drugs: PHARMAC Signs Bundle Deal For More Cancer Medicines

420 New Zealanders with lung cancer, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and respiratory disease will benefit each year from a bundle deal PHARMAC has finalised with a medicine supplier. More>>


"Levels Playing Field": Government Responds To Electricity Price Review

The changes announced today include: • Supporting new and independent retailers by requiring the big power companies to sell into the wholesale market at affordable rates. • Extending discount rates to all customers • A pilot scheme to help customers who have not switched power providers before to shop around for better deals... More>>